The washing station Kageyo lies in the highlands surrounding the southeastern shores of Lake Kivu. It's not too far from another washing we purchase coffee from, Gitesi, and is a coffee that hits a similar quality target. In fact, Kageyo was the 1st place winner of Rwanda's Cup of Excellence coffee competition in 2011. But other than winning this competition, the cooperative struggled during this time, taking out a bank loan to build a new wet mill that low harvests made it difficult to repay. A private exporter stepped in to help out, purchasing the wet mill, but leaving the farmer cooperative structure intact. This has benefited the coop in that they are absolved of their loan debt, have a direct connection with the specialty market through a well-established export partner, and retain a supply chain that is completely transparent. This is the first year we've bought this coffee, and let's just say we're happy we picked up more than one lot. The coop is made up of small farmers situated around the wet mill between 1800 - 2000 meters above sea level. Like much of Rwanda, the coffee planted in the region is Bourbon variety. We "built" this lot by looking at all their day lot batches and combining the best ones. It's worth mentioning that this should not be confused with "Kigeyo", a name that you may recognize from other cafe menus. Currently the output of Kageyo is about 200 bags, all of which is split between us and one other buyer.
This lot from Kageyo shines in both light and dark roast applications, the cup boasting equal parts raw sugar sweetness and complex baking spice notes. At City, the dry fragrance has a strong smell of cinnamon sauce, with hints of baked apple, and caramel candy. Closer to Full City sees a shift toward darker dried fruits, raisin and even prunes, with a subtle, yet resonant clove accent. The wet aroma has a wonderful honey base note, with smells of spiced tea and lilac released in the steam when breaking through the crust. The cup has layers of spice notes - clove, cinnamon, star anise - along with dense cane juice sweetness. Together, light roasts have a flavor of clove soda, with glimpses of candied lemon peel, and English Breakfast tea. There's a lemon-like brightness too, especially at City and City+ roast levels, and has a balancing effect on the cup profile. Middle roasts construct a chocolate undertone, that becomes more apparent in a cooled cup, with a finishing flavor of chocolate orange and snickerdoodle cookies. A remarkable Rwanda cup, light-to-middle roasts making incredible pour-over brews. The green coffee has a bit of silverskin still intact, somewhat limiting visibility when judging roast color during roasting. Expect more chaff than the "standard" bean, easily winnowed off post-roast.