As a woman-owned company, we prioritize supporting not only women in the U.S., but women all over the world. Though they make up almost 70% of the manual labor on coffee farms, women coffee producers are often overlooked when it comes to decision-making, trading, and business ownership. Coffee farmers in general are already vulnerable to low pay, food scarcity, and limited legal protection, but women coffee producers are even more at risk than their male counterparts. At Grand Paradé, our priority is our farmers -- especially women farmers. This is why we offer a wide variety of coffees produced exclusively by women: including this one from the Burundi Kayanza Gatukuza women, a pioneering women’s empowerment group. The Burundi Kayanza Gatukuza women is made up of over 500 small-holder farmers, whom we’ve partnered with directly to ensure they’re receiving fair wages and the tools and training they need to not only survive, but thrive.
As with all of our coffees, our Burundi coffee is reflective of our farmer-centered approach. We’re dedicated to paying our farmers premium prices and helping them remain resilient in the face of a climate crisis that puts their livelihoods at stake -- by training them on climate-resilient practices, such as the planting of shade trees to protect their crops, utilizing freshwater irrigation, and growing alternative crops (such as maize and bananas) to diversify their revenue streams. We’ve also funded schools and other community projects, with a focus on empowering women and children, because we believe that uplifting them is beneficial for everyone.
Part II: Burundi & What Makes Great Coffee
When trying great coffee for the first time, people often ask: What makes it taste so good? There are several answers. First, it matters where your coffee is coming from. All of our coffee is single-origin, meaning that the coffee beans in each bag come from one distinct location: ensuring a more pure, clean, and high-quality flavor profile. Second, great coffee is in the way that it’s grown: what farming practices are used, and what environmental factors are involved. Our Burundi coffee was grown at high altitudes in the fertile Kayanza district, a region located in Burundi’s northern province bordering Rwanda. These farmers have dedicated their entire lives to producing a quality product; the amazing flavor is the result of many years of hard work.
Beautifully smooth and balanced, our Burundi coffee comes alive with notes of buttery toffee, peach, candied orange, and berry in every sip. As the coffee cools, subtle caramel flavors, a hint of tamarind, and a creamy chocolate mouthfeel can be found in the finish. Burundi is known for producing coffee with incredible body and natural sweetness -- and ours is no exception. The exquisite flavor, paired with the knowledge that every purchase directly supports women coffee farmers across the world, is what makes this coffee so special.
Part III: Burundi - The Perfect Environment for Coffee
Because Burundi neighbors Rwanda, its coffee is similar in flavor. Burundi coffee is highly acidic, meaning it’s naturally bright and full of citrus and berry notes. In addition, the country’s high altitudes further ensure a flavorful cup. Our coffee is specifically grown in Kayanza: a region in northern Burundi with mild weather and altitudes of up to 2,000 meters. These optimal conditions produce a profoundly well-balanced, rich cup of coffee -- unlike any other in the world. If you’re a fan of Kenyan coffees and their fruity, full-bodied nature, our Burundi just might be your new favorite.
However, our vision for Grand Paradé goes beyond the cup, and great coffee isn’t the only reason we love Burundi. We love this country for its beautiful, vibrant culture; we love this country for its people. We firmly believe that farmers are the bedrock of any coffee business, which is why we take a farmer-centered approach and put our coffee producers at the heart of everything we do. By maintaining direct relationships with our Burundi farmers and providing them with financing, training, and a sense of community, we can ensure that the Grand Paradé experience is beneficial to both you and our farmers.
Part IV: Burundi & the Importance of Direct Trade
Though coffee is a huge part of everyday life, coffee farmers around the world are still struggling to make a living wage. Coffee producers are extremely vulnerable to poverty, food scarcity, and limited legal protection -- and with rising global temperatures making it increasingly difficult to grow coffee, their livelihoods are at greater risk than ever before. This is why we’re dedicated to providing direct-trade, fair-trade certified coffee.
If you’re wondering exactly what that means, it means that we’re in direct relationship with our coffee producers and are committed to preserving their livelihoods by paying them premium prices and strengthening local communities. To us, transparency is of utmost importance; we want to know exactly who’s growing our coffee, what tools they need to thrive, and how we as a small business can empower them and their families. This is why we source our Burundi coffee directly from the farmers of the Burundi Kayanza Gatukuza, a group dedicated to empowering women farmers. We believe that the difference can be both tasted and felt, and a truly amazing cup of coffee comes from the knowledge that farmers are being empowered in the process.
Part V: Advocating for Burundi’s Women
Though more and more women are taking on leadership roles within the coffee industry, gender inequality is still a pressing issue -- especially amongst coffee producers. In 2015, the SCAA identified four key areas in which the gender gap amongst coffee producers are most pronounced. First, women coffee producers are less likely than their male counterparts to own land; second, they’re more likely to take on the brunt of physical labor; third, they are paid less than their male counterparts; and fourth, they are given fewer leadership positions.
As a woman-owned company, we recognize that women coffee producers need more protection and representation. This is why we’ve sourced our Burundi coffee from the Burundi Kayanza Gatukuza women, a pioneering women’s empowerment group made up of 500+ small-holder farmers. By sourcing women-produced coffee, our mission is to celebrate women-owned farms and provide women coffee farmers with both financial and emotional support. Since the beginning, we’ve made it a priority to fund local community projects that uplift women and children specifically, such as investment workshops, the building of dorms and libraries, and training in sustainable farming practices. There’s no question that Burundi coffee tastes amazing -- but what makes it even better is the assurance that your cup of coffee is benefitting women farmers across the globe.