The cup is sweet and amazingly "complete" for such a delicately bright coffee. Mandarin orange, refined sweetness, like pure cane syrup, apricot hints, floral note of acacia blooms. As the cup cools the sweetness has a clean clover honey character, long aftertaste with floral and sweet citrus notes. City+ to Full City+.
Gitesi was my favorite sites in Rwanda, on a visit earlier this year. Not only is it located in a beautiful valley, but the washing station looked clean, well-organized, and the leaders seemed motivated and competent. I had already cupped quite a few day lots (wet-process batches from coffee cherry received in a single day), and I knew the coffee was really good. The Gitesi site is at 1740 meters, actually one of the lower areas surrounded by high ridges ranging up to 2000 meters, where coffee is grown. 1,830 coffee farmers in the area supply Gitesi with cherries each year. The station fosters a relationship with the farmers by paying an additional dividend at the end of each season based on performance. Gitesi was started in 2005 and has been building capacity each year. Like much of Rwanda, the coffee is Bourbon variety. We "built" this lot by looking at all their day lot batches and combining the best ones. Shipment from Rwanda takes so long because it either goes through Mombasa or Dar es Salaam, two sweltering hot places that can damage the coffee if it gets stuck in port long. Using the barrier Grainpro bag liners helps a lot, and despite a long time on the ocean, I am really happy with how the coffee has arrived.
This coffee has a really nice caramel-vanilla and graham cracker note from the ground coffee. There's citric and floral hints as well, and these come into full view when you add the hot water. Hints of rose and mandarin emerge in the wet aroma. The cup is sweet and amazingly "complete" in the lighter roasts for such a delicately bright coffee. The mandarin orange notes are quite distinct in the cup, especially at City roast. There's a refined sweetness, like pure cane syrup. There are apricot hints and the floral note of acacia blooms. As the cup cools the sweetness has a clean clover honey character, with a long aftertaste floral and sweet citrus. I believe it really shines at City roast, where the coffee looks a bit variegated and patchy in surface color and texture, before it "smooths out" toward Full City level. The first sip can seem a bit plain, but it really opens up as the cup cools. Of many roasts and many cups, I did have 1 potato defect cup from Gitesi. If it is present at all, it seems to be a rare occurrence. You will know it if you get one.