City roasts of Gahahe are marked by orange flavors and acidity, marmalade, mandarin, and a clean honeyed finish, with spiced Darjeeling tea accent. Full City builds rich chocolate flavors along with dark berry undertones. City to Full City. Good for Espresso.
Gahahe Station is a coffee cherry collection site located in Kayanza, Burundi's northern province that borders neighboring Rwanda. Farmers grow mostly older bourbon types, the original coffee cultivar introduced to the area in the 1930s by Catholic monks traveling from the island of Reunion. Gahehe sits at just over 1800 meters above sea level, and is a collection site for roughly 600 local farmers who are also station members. As members, they are organized into small groups who receive training in best agricultural practices, seedlings to continue to help increase coffee production, and benefit from access to the global specialty coffee market. Gahahe was built in the mid 1980s, a time when the World Bank was investing heavily in Burundi's coffee sector, building out washing stations like this one to serve the surrounding coffee communities, outfitted with a eco-pulping Penagos for processing coffee cherry. More recently they've come under the direction of a Burundi coffee investment group who are able to offer this coffee, as well as a few others we've purchased (Yandaro, and Kibingo to name a couple), agronomical assistance to station members, regular maintenance of washing station equipment and drying beds, and management teams who follow the coffee deliveries from cherry selection, to keeping lots separated by quality tiers. Since partnering with this group, several of the stations have seen top placement in Burundi coffee competitions, including Gahahe placing 4th in the 2015 Burundi CoE, and 7th the year prior.
A sweet honey smell exudes from the ground coffee, and dark spice accents that I think are unique to Burundi and Rwandan coffees. City roasts smell like dark honey, with cinnamon powder and all spice notes, and wafts of loose leaf tea. Closer to Full City and you're met with vanilla caramel and roasted nibs. The wet aromatics have a smell of warmed sweetened condensed milk, a saturated sweetness that gives way to creamy honey, and spiced tea smells when breaking through the crust. The cup is fantastic when roasted light and dark, but I think my favorite brews were at the City end of the roast spectrum. When roasted light, citrus flavors and acidic impressions ring out in the cup, notes of mandarin, and orange marmalade, and both flavor and brightness like orange herbal tea. Gahahe has such a clean finish, honey and fruited sweetness are both persistent in the aftertaste, as is a spiced accent that reminds me of Darjeeling tea. I was surprised at the level of chocolate in Full City roasts, that along with a dark berry flavor, come together like dark chocolate-covered blueberries. Citrus remains central to the cup character at this roast level too, coming off like pulpy orange juice in the finish. What a fantastic cup this coffee from Gahahe Station makes, and doubles as chocolate-centered espresso too, with a lovely floral blueberry aromatic note as well.