It's a week of firsts with my first time ordering from Counter Culture and (I think) my first coffee from Burundi. Counter Culture is a long time staple and O-G player in the specialty coffee game originating out of North Carolina and now with 11 training centers across the country. CC has produced many of the world's top baristas and brewer's cup competitors and their coffees are often selected for use in competition. Their reputation was stellar and I have had a few of their coffees here or there, but had never gotten around to ordering from them until now.
Buziraguhindwa Natural Sundried is from the Kayanza province in northwest Burundi, and this farmer, Ramadham Salum, was one of the first in the region and perhaps the whole country to naturally process coffee. Today, Counter Culture uses this coffee as one of the benchmarks for naturally processed coffees anywhere. The coffee is described as having, "BIG flavors. Tart and juicy with notes of jammy strawberry, pineapple, and dates." That was certainly enough to get me to order, and I'm glad I did. Out of the box the smell of dried, sweet strawberries oozed out of the bag.
Through the 02 size Ceramic Hario V60, this coffee was syrupy sweet and fairly crisp and clean for a naturally processed coffee. It reacted predictably to brewing, where shorter brew times highlighted the pineapple like acidity and longer brew times started to get a bit chalky or dry. I found the sweet spot to coax out the date like sweetness with the following recipe:
- 22 grams coffee to 340 grams water at 198*F
- 60 gram stirred bloom for 30 seconds
- Slow pour to 200 - 210 grams, stir
- Consistent pours keeping all of the grounds wet until final weight
- 2:45 - 3:00 total brew time.
I found brew times above 3:00 to start to get dry and loose any juiciness, but right around 2:45 to really draw a lot of syrupy date sweetness. The coffee was really well balanced and drinkable and just a damn good cup of very sweet and pleasing coffee.
As espresso I preferred this coffee in the IMS Precision double 16/20 basket. Shots pulled at:
- 19.5 grams in : 30 grams out
- in 33 seconds, with the pump cut out and the flow continuing the last 5 seconds.
As espresso it was all syrupy date like sweetness, like a thick sweetening syrup with a touch of pineapple like acidity. It was really quite tasty and I really enjoyed drinking straight shots of this coffee. I did try the coffee as a cappuccino, and it was also very sweet and good, but I had trouble pulling out any specific descriptors.
My only criticism of this coffee would be that it did seem to drop off after day 10 or so post roast. It was excellent around day 5, but the strong strawberry aroma and pronounced date like sweetness dissipated noticeably after a few days in use.
A reasonable $18 for a 12 ounce bag, and Counter Culture runs frequent shipping specials if you sign up for their email newsletter, which is one of the better ones, I might add. Said newsletter offers a lot of interesting sourcing and farm stories such as this unique one of how natural processed coffees came about in Burundi. Each coffee has origin and farm information as well, which I particularly like.