Coffee Villages is perhaps the oddest name I have ever encountered for a coffee mill ... odd in its blandness I suppose. And since I didn't get a chance to visit there on my Rwanda trips this year, I didn't get to find out how they decided upon this moniker. It is a private station located in the Eastern province, with coffee farmers producing from 1600 to 1900 meters. The mill is owned by Tom Bagaza, who saw potential for quality coffee buying the cherry direct from small farmers in this zone. The varietal is all Bourbon, and mostly the BM-139 type that does well in the Eastern soils. I found this coffee while cupping in Kigali and, despite the odd name, it was really nice. It's quite a bright coffee, and can stand up well to darker roasts, as well as the light ones where the brightness is most vivid. The Karenge station is traditional: a small 1 disc pulper as they use in Kenya, traditional fermentation, a long concrete washing channel to clean the coffee, and raised bed drying.
The dry fragrance is sweet and slightly savory, butter caramel candy, vanilla, a hint of banana. In the wet aromatics some interesting lemon grass tea notes come out, overlaying the sweet scents already mentioned, as well as sage blossom honey. The cup has a structured brightness in the cup, also with an 'orange and spice' character, with black tea like bittering in the finish. As it cools the cup opens up to a new set of flavors; honey, cherry, cola, caramel, rose hips, cranberry. This coffee turns noticeably sweeter with a little more roast. I felt that City roast was rather austere, minimal, spare, and the brightness quite tart. City+ roast, with more development after 1st crack highlights more of the honey-vanilla character and the brightness seems more integrated. Full City was wonderful of course too! The cup is really dynamic, clean, pointedly bright, and seems to improve even more with several days rest after roasting. The body is fairly light.