Kristy Carlson


Who is Kristy Carlson?

Wife, mother, temperamental creative, resilient human.

What is your best childhood memory?

Hmm… it’s hard for me to pick. I had a fairly rich childhood, with just the right amount of awkward and painful moments peppered throughout. In the end, all of life seems to be about the people we experience it with- doesn’t it?

With that in mind I would have to say that spending time with my grandmother, who was a quirky and fantastically unpredictable artist, produced some rich memories that have strongly shaped who I am. My grandmother taught me so much about appreciating and SEEING the beauty in everything.

My dad, on the other hand, taught me the value of taking time for people. He drove me to a farm most afternoons after school for several years so that I could take care of and ride horses, which was my dream come true. I was in my 20’s before I realized that that it was pretty unusual for a working dad to make himself available in that kind of way.


If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

Big sigh. I won’t tell you that.

What do you feel most proud of?

Oh, I don’t know. I’m a P on the Myers Briggs so I squirm at the finality of picking just one thing. That said- I’m pretty proud of the three stunning human beings we are busy shaping.


If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

Besides Ben and the kids?

Strangely- I feel like that’s been my year. We’ve moved three times within two countries since last October (and slept in about 15 different beds)- in a series of moves sparked by the violence in Burundi. We’ve been back in Burundi full time since January, but during the past year it would have been really hard to live without:

  • A camera (duh)
  • Our small portable speaker (because wherever we are as long as we are together and have our music we can make it “home”)
  • Something that connects to the outside world (because my mother would kill me if we couldn’t Skype).

What do you want your tombstone to say?

My name…in case I have visitors.


What is Long Miles Coffee?

Do you have all day? Long Miles began as a blog when we moved to Burundi five years ago. It was a way for me to express all the things I found difficult and exciting about living in Burundi. In 2013 Ben and I decided that what we were doing to “help” coffee farmers really wasn’t helping farmers at all. That’s when Long Miles really began. We built a washing station in an effort to produce the best possible Burundi coffee and see smallholding coffee farmers living sustainable and hope filled lives. We began with 360 farming families. Now, three years later, we work to achieve this with over 4,500 coffee farming families on 8 different hills.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I’m pretty spoiled in the coffee department. Since we grow and produce our own coffee, there is an endless supply of it in my office and my house. I did realize on a recent trip that not all people have it this good- there is some bad coffee out there! My favorite would have to be our Burundi coffee- I’ve been drinking it daily for five years and I still love it. Roasters will often bring us different coffees from all over the world, and while I appreciate comparing and contrasting, our coffee is still my favorite. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that I know it so well. Our coffee is the smell and taste that has flooded my Burundi experience and drinking it is like coming home.

Ben makes a pour over for us every morning and I drink it black.


In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

In most parts of the world you are more likely to bump into our coffee than us. But if you happen to be in Burundi, you can find us at Amahoro Café every once in awhile. They serve amazing burritos and make a mean Long Miles pour over.

What does a perfect day look like?

It definitely has to include some time with my family. They drive me totally nuts but they are my crew. I don’t even know how to fly solo anymore. A perfect day for me has one good adventure in it and plenty of time back home “at the ranch” to cook good food and talk about how “awesome” and “epic” our adventuring was.


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