I was really pleased to be a judge at the first-ever Rwanda Cup of Excellence competition, and to explore the array of samples that were submitted to find exemplary coffees from this special country. Coffee in Rwanda is produced by many, many small farmers, some with just a handful of coffee trees. The bring the freshly picked coffee cherries to cooperative wet mills, called "washing stations" for processing, and each 60 kg bag of exportable green coffee might be the product of no single farm, but tens of small producers. In the case of the Rwanda CoE lots, and this one in particular, the auction proceeds of this small 15 bag lot will be divided among a staggering list of small farmers. It's a logisitcal nightmare, but well worth the effort to share the glory and the monetary boost of the international auction. We bid on this lot with our friends at Intelligentsia Coffee, and although it ranked 19, it actually sold for more than the #3 lot in the auction. Clearly, others felt as we did, that this was a sleeper lot that actually deserved a much higher rank. But CoE is about uncovering a set of great coffees for buyers to select from ... not about absolute rankings. This is a very special lot from the Butare area (where we held the cupping). I didn't recognize the special quality of this cup at first because the dry fragrance is fairly closed and muted; there's a cookie-like sweetness, some citrus and soft chocolate notes. The wet aroma has restrained citrus and berry sweetness. At the preferred City to City + roast range, the cup seems more vivid than the aromatics would have suggested. It's light bodied, effervescent, with dynamic orange and berry brightness, and a toffee-caramel sweetness. It's a crystal clear flavor profile, clean, and lively. The key to this coffee is to taste it as it cools, when the flavors become more transparent and sweetness intensifies. Interestingly, the lighter body also has a density, a syrupy weight to the mouthfeel, and an emerging peach note as well. To think of all the miniscule coffee farms that contribute to produce such an elegant coffee flavor is amazing.