The “Grand Cru Burundi” auction ( https://grandcruburundi.com/en/), on 8th December 2022, is building on 10 years of social impact programs developed by JNP Coffee, a woman-owned business founded in 2012, based in Bujumbura, Burundi and Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
- JNP Coffee has committed 100% of the net proceeds from this auction to promote meaningful programs for women and youth in Burundi, helping them build sustainable communities through education, empowerment, and environmental change.
- Through an innovative program of second payments, where in addition to paying the producers the government set price, JNP Coffee makes a second payment based upon the price the coffee earns in the global market.
- For most of the women, this is the first time they had ever touched money.
- These payments form part of a social & economic empowerment programme for often marginalised women in Burundi, including financial literacy training and English language training where over 50,000 young people have learned to speak and read English.
Auction of highest-scoring specialty coffee celebrates 10 years of social impact for women farmers in Burundi, funding financial education, career training, environmental programs
BOSTON, MASS., November 4, 2022 – The sale of the highest-scoring specialty coffee from Burundi in East Africa’s Great Lakes region will support economic development for women, youth and the environment in that country. “Grand Cru Burundi, a JNP Coffee Auction,” will generate funds to bring needed economic development to the region.
Twenty-six carefully curated coffee micro-lots from the current harvest will be auctioned at this exclusive online event on Thursday, 8 December, when coffee buyers from all around the world will submit virtual bids to acquire some of the finest coffees in the world. Proceeds from the auction will ensure more training and certifications for coffee farmers, more educational programs for young people starting their coffee careers, and the creation of post-processing solutions for clean water.
This auction is led by Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, who in 2012 founded JNP Coffee to empower coffee farmers in her homeland, Burundi, with a particular focus on women, who invest their earnings back into their communities. A certified Q grader and Q processor, Niyonzima-Aroian is one of the only Burundi natives to hold both certifications. She began the coffee trading company after a career in international telecommunications, holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and currently serves as a board member of the Specialty Coffee Association.
The high scores in the Grand Cru Burundi auction selections, ranging from 87.5 to 91.5, reflect JNP Coffee’s past investments in training farmers on best practices in growing, harvesting, and processing their cherries. JNP Coffee is known for its award-winning specialty coffees and its gender equity focus in Burundi. These scores demonstrate the economic potential of specialty coffee in this small country and the transformative impact it can have on the more than 10,000 coffee growers who work with JNP Coffee staff members at origin.
Burundi farmers benefit from the industry’s first-ever Dushime®premium program, a second payment from JNP Coffee sourced from global sales of the prized specialty Bourbon coffee grown in Burundi’s high-altitude volcanic soil. Women farmers also access financial literacy education provided through JNP Coffee so they can invest productively in their communities.
“When you empower women in places like Burundi, you are empowering the entire community,” said Niyonzima-Aroian. “This auction has special significance for us because every purchase will support development initiatives for Burundi’s farmers,” she said. “We have seen the transformative power of coffee and we are eager to do more.”
Contact: Allison Chisolm, JNP Coffee. email@example.com +1.508.887.6557
November 2 2022
Coffee auctions are about optimism, enthusiasm, and recognition. They are an immense amount of work to prepare but they create a way for people around the world to contribute to a supply chain’s maximum potential. The Grand Cru Burundi auction is a rightful step for JNP, given how many incredible coffees they represent and how much optimism they have created among their farmers.
I first met Jeanine in 2013 and have learned a lot about coffee in Burundi through her eyes and the communities she leads. Including, among many, a single 36-hour visit to Kayanza one December, far from harvest, to personally witness a premium distribution ceremony at one of their washing stations, led by local representatives of the International Women’s Coffee Association, with whom Jeanine has worked for many years as Burundi’s representative. The auction photo of her dancing with IWCA farmers is from that day.
Representation and trust matter a lot to farmers in Burundi; Jeanine’s women-led management teams, and herself as a Burundian founder, are powerful examples for farmers of any gender who have at any point in their lives felt disempowered.
I don’t think it’s shocking anymore to claim that Burundi produces some of the best coffee on earth. If Burundi’s arabica is bourbon-based as we commonly claim, then in the right hands it has an explosive quality to its brightness and flavor balance that is un-findable in bourbon lineage coffee elsewhere in the world. Particularly as espresso, in which juicy acids, brisk lemongrass, and stone fruit or berry-like sweetness all compound into a decadent and jammy balance with a wide range of roasting versatility. JNP’s coffees exude these qualities and, as a longtime buyer, they are always getting better. JNP continues to perfect their natural processing in particular, which has won over many skeptical cuppers and, most importantly, farmers, through wastewater reduction and low-cost processing overhead compared to multi-washed traditions in Burundi—not to mention microlot premiums for producing a profile that is still largely overlooked throughout East Africa. All this and JNP continues to offer coffees every year with more specificity than the harvest before, all while growing in size and impact.
At Royal, I am constantly writing about new JNP coffees for our website, each one involving some version of the same story: a new farmer group or washing station created due to overwhelming demand from the farmers themselves. They want the prices, they want the leadership, they want the market that Jeanine has developed. JNP’s growth is organic and leadership is by example. Jeanine has become a friend and a guide for so many coffee buyers who want to understand what makes Burundi’s coffee so incredible, and what the next generation of coffee producers from here will look like.