Coffee: Kanzu Rwanda
Roaster: Coptic Light
Producer/Farm: Kanzu Washing Station
Origin/Region: Rwanda/Western Province, Nyamasheke District
Altitude: 1800-2100 masl
Dry Fragrance: fresh spices, caramel, vanilla, baked apple and herbs
Tasting Notes: This coffee has a soft citric acidity that is in perfect balance with vanilla/honey sweetness. Flavor notes of fig, floral aromatics and vanilla are primary but I also tasted maple, toffee, almonds, cooked peaches and shortbread cookie. As it cools a juicy sweetness lingers with flavors of mulled cherries. The aftertaste was softly bitter, reminiscent of plum skin, and the silky mouthfeel was stunning. The delicacy and balance of this coffee is a hallmark of Coptic Light’s approach to roasting. Kudos.
Roaster’s notes: We always get excited in the fall for the arrival of fresh crop Rwanda coffees, and this year we present yet another beautiful lot from the Kanzu washing station located in the Nyamasheke district of the Western Province. After the devastation of the civil war and genocide in the 1990s, Rwanda was the focus of a series of development projects designed to rebuild its agricultural sector, beginning with the PEARL Project in 2001 and continuing with SPREAD until 2012. Both funded by USAID and US universities, a large emphasis was placed on the coffee industry - building washing stations, forming cooperatives, and training agronomists, cuppers and quality control personnel. In 2012, the reputable exporting company Dormans took over the Kanzu washing station and continued the focused support on infrastructure and technical support. Kanzu currently employs fifty local men and women and is a small, well-run jewel of a factory set against the green hills of coffee, cassava, sweet potato, sugarcane, bananas, and beans, which borders the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Due to its unique location, cool cloud cover often drifts over Kanzu, which not only makes for beautiful light but exceptional coffee-growing conditions as well.
Additional Growing Information: 16-18 hour dry fermentation & 18 hour wet fermentation. Wastewater was treated with Effective Microorganisms (EMTechnologies) to secure local water resources for the nearby community. This year's lot was dried on raised beds under a new experimental parabolic apparatus. This is very different than the normal drying procedure of long, single mesh beds in the open air but instead consists of three beds built vertically that reach nearly 10 feet tall.
Brew recommendations: I brewed this coffee on Origami with Kalita and V60 filters, and V60 with a V60 filter, as well as on Kalita with a Kalita filter. My V60 brew gave a fruity and brighter profile while the Kalita brew was more rounded with maple sweetness and raisin notes. The Origami with V60 filter was the most well balanced profile and was my personal favorite. As usual I employed my typical pour-over protocol which is posted here.
Coffee: Disco Marmalade – Kirite
Roaster: Luna Coffee
Producer/Farm: Kirite community
Altitude: not specified
Tasting Notes: Like pretty jewels, raspberry and purple fruits predominate in this lightly bright coffee with floral aftertaste. The soft lemon acidity and buttery mouthfeel will take you by surprise. The sweetness of toffee and maple is counterbalanced by a mild cranberry tartness and soft notes of black tea. It’s a complex coffee that offers layered flavors as it cools.
Roaster’s notes: This washed processed landrace lot is grown by smallholders associated with the Kirite community in Guji, Ethiopia. METAD’s Hambela estate processes the fruit by depulping, and fermenting the remaining bits of fruit off the seeds by submerging in water tanks, visually reminiscent of a vat of sparkling kombucha. This lot is from outgrower communities that work with METAD, who have a remarkable history as a company, producer and exporter in Ethiopia. Read more.
Brew recommendations: There’s a lot to offer here and it’s worth your time to try different brewers and ratios to reveal all it has to offer. My preferred brew was on the Origami dripper with a V60 filter for a total brew time of 3:30-3:45. As usual I employed my typical pour-over protocol which is posted here.
Coffee: Aida Batlle Selection Indigo Reserve
Producer/Farm: Aida Battle/Finca Kilimanjaro
Origin/Region: El Salvador
Process: Iced Cascara
Altitude: 1580-1720 masl
Variety: Kenya SL-28 and SL-34 and Bourbon
Dry fragrance: punchy, a burst of spices and caramel, buttery
Tasting notes: Caramel, orange marmalade, cherries, spices, toffee, almond extract, lightly syrupy mouthfeel with lingering pleasant aftertaste. Toasted marshmallow and herbal aromatics are present. As it cools, light notes of hibiscus and almond skin emerge. Overall there is a nice balance of orange acidity and deep caramel sweetness.
Producer’s notes: This 2020 release of Indigo Reserve for the home connoisseur hails from Aida Batlle’s family’s world renowned Finca Kilimanjaro in El Salvador. This coffee has been processed using a unique method that she has developed through years of experiments, this process named “Iced Cascara”, incorporates the entire coffee fruit to give the resulting cup a flavor that transcends anything she has ever done before. Finca Kilimanjaro and Aida Batlle are both names that reverberate quality. They made their appearance in specialty coffee in 2003, when in her first year as coffee producer, Aida became the first woman to ever secure the converted winning title of “Cup of Excellence”. Finca Kilimanjaro is home to some of the finest coffee varieties in the world. High quality Kenyan varieties SL-28 and SL-34, renowned for their pronounced fruit flavors, grow interspersed with the tall Bourbon trees that were first brought to the region by Aida’s great-great grandfather.
Brew recommendations: My favorite brew showed off the fruity notes with more clarity using a V60 dripper with a V60 filter and a TBT of 3:15 to 3:30 mins. Brewing on Kalita or Origami with a Kalita filter gave a deeper, sweet caramel and almond profile. For an even sweeter experience, try using a “fast” filter, such as the P70 filters made by Saint Anthony Industries which can be adapted to a V60 dripper. I used my typical pour-over protocol which is posted here.
Coffee: Dambi Uddo
Producer/Farm: Dambi Uddo and other smallholders
Altitude: 2000-2160 masl
Tasting Notes: This is a lush fruity natural that delivers clean succulent flavors of strawberry, mango, lemon-honey, and apricots. There are other flavors here too as this is a complex cup: coconut, pineapple, rhubarb and tea. The aftertaste is refreshingly clean even a bit minty. This is not your typical muddle fruit natural but a clean, juicy, balanced coffee with citric acidity and a lovely bittersweet balance.
Roaster’s notes: Dambi Uddo is the name for the kabele where both the farm of the same name and the drying station are located. It is a semi-forest farm on approximately 250 hectares of land that processes its own coffee along with coffee from other smallholders in the area. Dambi Uddo is located in the Guji highlands with an average altitude of 2,050 meters. This is easily the cleanest and most balanced naturally processed coffee we have cupped this season.
Brew recommendations: The fruitiest and cleanest cup was brewed on Origami with a V60 filter with a TBT of around 3:30 mins. I used my typical pour-over protocol which is posted here.