Rwanda Gikongoro Robusta

The cup is all about bittering cocoa, mild malty sweetness, muted acidity, and massive body. Roasted buckwheat, leather, and nutty notes mark the aroma and finish. Full City to Vienna. Good for espresso blending.

In stock
  • Process Method Wet Process
  • Farm Gate No
Region Gikongoro Province
Processing Wet Process (Washed)
Drying Method Raised Bed Sun-Dried
Arrival date March 2018 Arrival
Lot size 25
Bag size 60 KG
Packaging GrainPro liner
Cultivar Detail Robusta
Grade n/a
Appearance .0 d/300gr, 15+ Screen
Roast Recommendations Full City to Vienna
Recommended for Espresso Yes

OK, yes this Robusta is one of the better we've tasted, but it should still be treated like Robusta. That is to say, roast it dark and use it sparingly. Robusta has very little sweetness (though the level in this lot surprised us) and basically no acidity, instead offering massive body, bittersweetness, and contains a  higher level of caffeine than C. Arabica (there's a reason it's used in blends by so many commercial roasters). As such, it works well as a body/bittersweet blend component and a little bit goes a long way. It's interesting to play around with the ratio to find out where the "sweet spot" is for your personal needs. We use a bit of Robusta in our Liquid Amber blend (roughly 1/5), and without it, it just wouldn't be the same. I think it's nice to brew some up on it's own first to taste what you're up against. From there you're able to make a much more informed decision with how to proceed. For espresso, try using 1/3 maximum with a wet process Guatemala, or maybe 1/3 Guatemala, 1/3 Dry Process Brazil (or DP Ethiopia if you want a fruitier component), and 1/3 Robusta. If you have 2 or more Arabica types on hand you can roast each and then adjust the ratios with some post roast blending. A little about the coffee's origin: This coffee comes from a washing station in the Gikongoro Province and is managed by Epiphanie Mukashyaka. She has built, and now operates with here son, a few wet mills in the region focused on improving the quality of the small holder coffee and maximizing return. They mostly produce Bourbon types at very high elevations, but also have small amount of Robusta trees producing at 1500 meters. 

Full City was my lightest roast, and should be yours too. This is where the bittering nature of Robusta is marked by roast tone, and together come off like roasted cacao nibs, or unsweetened cocoa. The smells and cup flavors have savory qualities; toasted grain like buckwheat and barley, raw carob, and just a hint of malty sweetness. The cup flavors at Full City are defined by bittering cocoa tones, and the middle and finish are marked by leathery and toasted nut shell accents. My Full City+ roasts had incredibly dense body and mouthfeel, but the acrid bittering brew was a bit much to drink on it's own. Like most Robusta, this coffee is for blending and should be used sparingly. Try 1/4 ratio to a washed or natural Arabica and go from there. I outline ways to use Robusta in more detail in the Farm Notes. Fans of our Liquid Amber blend should know that Robusta makes up roughly 1/5 of that blend, and for such a small amount, it plays a big role in the final cup profile. (note the score reflects a 9 point cupper's correction - this is to account for how we think this coffee rates against your average Robusta)