Top note complexity while remaining extremely balanced. Yellow cherry, mulling spice, mandarin, pearl jasmine tea, and a beautiful panela/cocoa bittersweetness. Finishes very clean. City to Full City. Good for espresso.
Gashonga cooperative is located in the sector of the same name, part of the greater Rusizi district. Gashonga is new to us this year, a station we visited on a trip last April during early harvest. They are one of several cooperatives in a partnership with an umbrella association who help to organize deliveries and export, also investing in state of the art dry mills relatively close to the individual stations. The Gashonga cooperative is one of the best performers of the bunch when it comes to both producing consistent quality and in terms of cost management. We could see evidence of the high level of care they place on each step of coffee processing, and the expertise of their washing station staff. It's little things that count in processing sometimes. I noticed a super clean machine (no fruits leftover from previous days process), well-maintained drying beds, and even the meticulous repair of any small hole in their covering tarps. Gashonga currently has 16 collection sites located in close proximity to the 100+ farmer members in the highland areas, along with this central washing station we visited, outfitted with a new Penagos 1500 machine. This 50 bag lot is made up of several day lots that we selected in both Rwanda and in our cupping lab.
Gashonga makes a solid addition to our Rwanda roster, new to use this season, and now on our radar for next year! The dry fragrance has a dry-spice blend of cinnamon and clove, adding to the complex sweetness that vacillates between unrefined sugar and dried fruit. A buttery sweetness builds in the wet aroma of a City roast, and the break gives way to fruit-laced steam, apricot and golden raisin, along with a cinnamon tea smell. The cup is very pleasantly bittersweet, plays off as black tea at City roast, shifting toward dark cocoa and a raw brown panela sugar flavor as the roast nears Full City. There's a multitude of top notes that pop out as the cup temperature dips, but never out of balance. Our lightest roast boasted accents of yellow cherry, mulling spice, mandarin, and a pleasant jasmine pearl tea grace note. Full City roasts have immense body, like silky chocolate syrup (in flavor too), and a bittersweet cocoa and vanilla sugar flavor long into finish. With a couple days rest Gashonga brews excellent, boasting possessing balanced complexity, and with beautiful cleanliness and clarity in the cup.