The Jubilant Blend from Peet’s Coffee combines the efforts of two pioneering women in specialty coffee: Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian and Phyllis Johnson.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of JNP Coffee
Burundi may not be one of the best-known specialty-coffee-producing nations in East Africa, but it’s a reliable producer of fruity, flavorful coffees. Among the dedicated coffee professionals focused on the region is Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, founder of importing and exporting company JNP Coffee, which uses a premium payment system that rewards farmers for their high-quality coffee beans.
JNP Coffee’s selections from Burundi are an essential element of the new Jubilant Blend from Peet’s Coffee, a limited-edition coffee the company introduced this month “in celebration of Black women coffee producers for Black History Month,” according to a press release from Peet’s. The medium-roast coffee combines beans from Burundi’s Kayanza, Ngozi, and Karusi provinces with Brazilian beans from another Black woman-owned coffee business, BD Imports, whose owner Phyllis Johnson also founded the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity.
“Each of these women has affected tremendous change within the coffee industry, elevating Black coffee farmers, creating profound opportunities, and furthering economic equity across gender and racial boundaries,” says Phil Maloney, senior director of coffee purchasing at Peet’s. “Peet’s Coffee is honored to support these businesses and the Black coffee farmers with whom they partner.”
Marrying Burundi and Brazil
Peet’s describes the Jubilant Blend as “sweet and beautifully bright beans from Burundi meets nutty, aromatic beans from Brazil.” Jeanine says JNP’s beans constitute just over half of the blend, with their coffees consisting of “a variety of fully washed lots, including our women’s coffee, bringing the sparking acidity and sweetness you find in our delicious Burundi coffee.”
Jeanine says JNP Coffee’s partnership with Peet’s has had a powerful impact on farmers in Burundi. “Selecting multiple lots to make this blend has allowed us to touch thousands of smallholder farmers who were behind the making of the coffee in Jubilant,” Jeanine says. “It is rare to have so many farmers affected by a single transaction with one company.”
The farmers are additionally impacted through JNP’s aforementioned premium payment system. “Each year, our farmer partners benefit from a second payment received under our Dushime premium program for their careful production of such high-quality coffee,” Jeanine says. “On a recent premium distribution day, we learned that some farmers were using their premium payments to cover production costs, to buy textbooks for their school-aged children, cloth for head coverings, and even soap for the family.”
A Welcome Collaboration
Jeanine says that in addition to helping coffee farmers in Burundi, the Jubilant Blend gives her an opportunity to collaborate with Phyllis Johnson, whom she has long admired. “Phyllis Johnson is a pioneer in our industry,” Jeanine says. “She’s been in coffee for more than 20 years, and I admire her hard work to pave the way forward for women and African Americans in the industry.”
Along with the Jubilant Blend, Peet’s has given Jeanine and Phyllis the chance to impact the company’s employees. “Last year, Peet’s had purchased and roasted JNP Coffee in celebration of Mother’s Day in May,” Jeanine says. “The company also held an internal ‘Peetnik’ event for employees, where Phyllis and I presented (virtually) to a group of more than 100 in recognition of Black History Month. This year, on February 1, they hosted us again, this time in person at their headquarters in San Francisco to present to about 135 employees, although many attended virtually. I applaud Peet’s creative support of Black women coffee entrepreneurs by bringing together our two coffees: Burundian from JNP Coffee and Brazilian from BD Imports, sourced from a group of Black farmers in Brazil.”
For more on the Jubilant Blend, visit the Peet’s website.