Crowd pleasing cup, solid bittersweetness in near perfect balance. Cooled middle roasts show a mix of fresh berry, dark cocoa, and resonant grape note in the finish. City+ to Full City+. Great espresso option.
Kivubo Station is located in the Mutambu area of Bujumbura Province. The station acts as a collection site where farmers from the surrounding hillside can sell their whole coffee cherry after it is picked, and where that coffee will then be blended, wet processed, and dried on raised drying beds. Kivubo is one of several stations under an umbrella association that currently serves around 3,000 farmers, small-holder farms who on average are growing 200 coffee shrubs cultivated land adjacent to their homes. Putting that into context, we call many of the Colombian farmers we buy from "small-holders", and they have 1 - 2 hectares of land, each hectare holding around 5k trees! Coffee cherry is hand-picked, then delivered to the station where it is fully washed, fermented, and then dried on raised beds. Hand sorting is a major factor of quality control, starting with the freshly picked cherry, and ending at the dry mill. Growing altitudes range from about 1500 meters at the highest peaks. Like most of the region, Bourbon is the dominant varietal grown.
A heady mix of unrefined sugar and toffee smells highlight the fragrance of the ground coffee, with rice syrup and caramel popcorn accents. Adding hot water gives off a toasted marshmallow smell, with accents of black tea leaves, and cinnamon flecks. The brewed coffee shows a wonderful mix of fruit and dark cocoa tones in middle roasts that really show their strength as the cup cools down a bit. At City+ roast level it shows a solid bittersweet core, and reminds me a lot of a Guatemalan coffee in sweetness and versatility. This will work great as single origin espresso, and actually would be a great choice for someone looking for a sweet blend base that will also provide a solid dark chocolate undercurrent. That was our experience with brewing a Full City roast too, dense cocoa tones balanced out by muscovado-like sweetness, a near perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors that we look for in a crowd pleasing cup. And for those patient enough to let the coffee cool a bit, you're rewarded with top notes of fresh dark berries, and a resonant grape flavor in the finish.