A balanced and graceful cup with restrained acidity, sweet citrus, rose, tea-like flavors, floral brightness, medium body with dense mouthfeel, dried orange peel, cinnamon bark, clove, allspice. City+ to Full City.
We have offered coffee from the twin washing stations (wet mills) of Nyarusiza and Remera for four years now and the quality keeps improving with each successive harvest. These mills are part of a unique private cooperative that is organized with farmer-members, but is family-owned company called Bufcafe (or Bufcoffee to the Anglophone). Bufcoffee was started with the determination of Epiphanie Muhirwa, and she still oversees the company while her son Samuel is in charge of the washing stations and dry mill in Kalambi. These coffees have done very well in the Cup of Excellence competitions, and in fact Sweet Maria's placed 2nd in the SCAA Roaster's Choice competition with a roast of this coffee. The Nyarusiza and Remera areas have great altitude for coffee ranging from 1700 to 2000 meters. Like much of Rwanda, this coffee is grown from older Bourbon types that were not replaced with newer hybrids largely due to neglect from the coffee buyers and a lack of funding for a government initiative. After the horrors of the genocide, coffee was seen as a way to aid the rural population, and the great potential for quality was discovered, featuring older types of the traditional Bourbon varietal. The coffee is wet processed using a single fermentation and then a secondary water bath, and dried immediately on raised beds. This is called "African style beds", and it promotes even, rapid drying (more-so than patio drying in many cases) because the air flows around the wet parchment coffee from above and below. It's ideal for this climate, and allows the coffee to be culled while it dries to remove defects.
This is a classic Rwanda cup that can take a wide range of roasts, light to dark. The dry fragrance has a balanced sweetness, brown sugar and molasses, brown bread and cinnamon, with dark spice tea aromas. Wet aromatics have rose-like floral notes, and caramelized cane sugar sweetness. This cup has lots of sweet mulling spices to it; dried orange peel, cinnamon bark, clove, and allspice. One of my test roasts was very light in appearance, City roast but barely though first crack and rather patchy looking. But it was great! There was sweet citrus, lemon oil, and the rose floral note as found in the wet aroma. It's very balanced at City+ through Full City roast; bittersweet roasty coffee flavors in proportion to fruit and aromatic accent notes. The body has a certain density and creamy texture to it, a buttery quality that lingers into the finish. All of this adds up to a character much more restrained than a bright, flashy Kenya coffee that has enough depth to discover new flavors with each brewing. Keep tasting it, and you will find more to like in this lot... at least that is my experience.