We have returned to the west of Rwanda this season, and are very happy to once again have a truly delicious coffee from the Ruli Musasa washing station, owned by the Dukunde Kawa co-operative. Dukunde Kawa run three washing stations in the Gakenke District serving around two thousand farmers in total. Ruli Musasa is the most southerly of these, perched at the dizzying height of 1999 metres above sea level and over looking the coffee trees surrounding it. The local farmers, of which nine hundred deliver their coffee to Ruli Musasa on average own around a quarter of an acre of land on which they may grow up to three hundred coffee trees.
Processing in Rwanda is similar in style to neighbouring Kenya, and one distinct feature of this style not commonly carried out in Latin America, is to soak wet parchment coffee for up to a day after fermentation is finished. Whilst the origins of this add on to the washed process is not clear, what is known, thanks to research in Kenya during the 1960s is that some bitter compounds are removed from the coffee in this final stage. This helps reduce bitterness in well processed coffees allowing for sweetness and acidity to shine through with clarity and elegance.
Ruli Musasa is a perfect example of this clarity and elegance. Truly stunning, it displays bold red fruit driven flavour profiles and silky smooth body. This lot has a floral front end and flavours of milk chocolate and dates dominate the cup. We have roasted this small lot to accentuate the dense, sweet and syrupy mouth feel, making this a great coffee to try as a single origin espresso. The acidity is bright and lemon like early and leads onto to a white grape like effervescence. The sugar cane sweetness and aftertaste of milk chocolate and dates act as a lovely counterpoint to the zestiness at the front of the cup.