Our latest custom Swiss Water decaf is from a Congo cooperative, located in the Kalehe territory on the western side of the great Lake Kivu. This area has had coffee planted for over 6 decades (mostly bourbon), but with the civil unrest of recent history, the coffee farms were left abandoned for some time. The altitude is great for growing coffee, lying in the foothills of one of the volcanos in the Albertine Rift Zone. There are currently about 1500 coop members, each averaging about 1 hectare of Bourbon planted, with growing altitudes between 1500-1700 meters. If you tried the non-decaf counterpart, you know that the cup showed a nice blend of rusticsugars like molasses and date sugar, to pungent tropical fruit tones. The Swiss Water decaffeination method is an extremely delicate process, leaving a lot of those volatile compounds that affect flavor and aroma intact.
The dry grounds smell has a sweet grain smell, like honey on wheat bread, roasted rye grain, and subtle fruit tones too. Adding hot water enhances these smells, and breaking through the crust with a spoon stirs up accents of rustic cacao nibs and something pungent and tropical. There are complex earth tones in the brewed coffee, City+ roasts with blackstrap molasses sweetness enhanced by a peet-like counterpoint, and a faint flavor of sesame oil or maybe toasted barley tea. Full City roasts have a more fruited slant in the cooling cup, dried papaya and even the musk of jack fruit come to mind, along with Baker's cocoa in the finish. Not your average decaf, that's for sure, but one that offers a uniquely complex cup, or perhaps that accent coffee for a decaf blend.
December 2016 Arrival
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