JNP Testimonial

Charlie Habegger

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.

At a Cup of Excellence competition, she recognized the potential of the exceptional, but unknown coffees of Burundi and saw the opportunity to promote these coffees in the global market as a means of advancing the farmers, her people.

JNP’s work enables small farmers re-organize themselves according to their own individual interests, motivated by opportunities rather than pressures or traditions. 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.