THIS COFFEE HAS SOLD OUT. Rustic molasses sugar sweetness, with papaya and tamarind. Citrus notes accentuate fruited brightness. Herbaceous accents of basil and lemon balm. City to Full City+. Good for espresso.
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This coffee is from a cooperative located in the Kalehe territory on the western side of the great Lake Kivu. This area has had coffee planted for over 6 decades (mostly bourbon), but with the civil unrest of recent history, the coffee farms were left abandoned for some time. The altitude is great for growing coffee, lying in the foothills of one of the volcanos in the Albertine Rift Zone. Newfound peace in the region has seen farmers planting new coffee trees, and cooperatives such as this one have been set up to help build a much needed coffee infrastructure, as well as to streamline the process of exporting coffee out of the country. There are currently about 1500 coop members, each averaging about 1 hectare of Bourbon planted, with growing altitudes between 1500-1700 meters. The coffees are fully washed using a wet mill set up by the coop, and dried on raised beds. Congo coffee often produces a much more rustic cup character than it should, given that it should be similar to the Rwanda coffees from the other side of the Lake Kivu. But this lot is actually quite clean given the expectation, with citrus and tea notes a bit more in line with coffee from neighboring countries.
The dry grounds smell complex, an Earl Grey tea note that exudes clean, spiced fragrance, along with faint tropical to citrus fruit accents. Adding hot water sees the aroma in full bloom, malt sugar smells and cooked fruit filling, the smells span a wide range of characteristics, showing a rustic side too. When hot, the sweetness also comes across a bit rustic, like molasses or even raw cane juice, and with apparent citrus acidity. The latter is a nice surprise, in that acidity is often lacking in Congo coffee. But flavors of kumquat and orange accentuate the brightness sensed in the cup, especially at lighter roast levels, and helps to prop pungent fruited notes of dry papaya and tamarind as the coffee cools. The mouthfeel has a pleasant bitterness in the finish, like what you'd expect from orange zest or stone fruit skins, and the aftertaste shows an herbaceous highlights of sweet basil and lemon balm.