Gitesi builds a framework of sugar cane juice and clean raw sugar sweetness, with accent notes of lemonade, brisk orange spice tea, Earl Grey, and Orange pekoe. Black tea and lemon-spritzed water acidic impressions. City to Full City.
Gitesi is one of my favorite sites in Rwanda. Not only is it located in a beautiful valley, but the washing station looked clean, well-organized, and the leaders seemed motivated and competent. I had already cupped quite a few day lots (wet-process batches from coffee cherry received in a single day), and I knew the coffee was really good. The Gitesi site is at 1740 meters, actually one of the lower areas surrounded by high ridges ranging up to 2000 meters, where coffee is grown. 1,830 coffee farmers in the area supply Gitesi with cherries each year. The station fosters a relationship with the farmers by paying an additional dividend at the end of each season based on performance. Gitesi was started in 2005 and has been building capacity each year. Like much of Rwanda, the coffee is Bourbon variety. We "built" this lot by looking at all their day lot batches and combining the best ones. We found some excellent process batches from the middle harvest. And we're not the only ones noticing: Gitesi won COE a couple years back and continues to produce competition level coffees.
Gitesi continues to produce some of the best coffee we see from the region. From the outset, Gitesi shows an attractive set of aromatics, perfumed with clover honey and subtle spice accents, a cola smell in our City roast. Aspects of complex sugar browning come into full view when you add the hot water, with sweet smells of caramel candies, and a collection of fine black tea smells released on the break. City+ roasts are intensely sweet, a framework of sugar cane juice and clean raw sugar sweetness making up this coffee's backdrop. As you move through brews of City roasts, citrus accent notes come into play, like lemonade, and a brisk flavor of orange spice tea. And speaking of tea notes, Gitesi has them in strength, the cooling cup presenting Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Orange pekoe undertones. The acidic impressions fall somewhere between a palate cleansing black tea and lemon-spritzed water, both having a mouth refreshing effect in the finish. Darker roasting builds flavor layers of fine dark chocolate, and with uncompromising sweetness all the way to the outer edge of Full City (but for the most complex cup, don't stray far from City+). Gitesi brews so well, with the quality of a competition-winning coffee.