After kicking around sunny southern California for the past few days, we’re packing our bags and jetting off to the Eastern seaboard, to the home of Ceremony Coffee Roasters—Annapolis.
Ceremony has been on my radar for quite some time now; I’ve corresponded with the folks there in the past, their coffee just never made its way to the Table.
Once again, MistoBox did an excellent job of playing matchmaker this month by finally getting Ceremony into my hands. Up until now we’ve been two lovers running toward each other in a field of flowers in slow motion; MistoBox did us both a service by pressing the fast forward button and making our union happen.
Regardless (and before this introduction gets any weirder), onto the review.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’ll be sipping a cup of Rwanda Gitesi, from Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, Maryland. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Gitesi Washing Station is a private station located in the Gitesi Sector, Kirambo Village, Karongi District in the Western Province. It is supplied by 1,830 farmers growing coffee in the surrounding ridges. The farmers and the station have an excellent working relationship, and are paid an additional dividend by the station at the end of the season based on quality and production.
The coffee to take home the top prize in the 2012 Cup of Excellence in Rwanda also came from Gitesi.
origin: Karongi District, Western Province, Rwanda
farm: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1700 – 1740 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this cup… My goodness. It is nothing short of intoxicating. Immediately upon opening the bag, not much happens – a bit of cocoa, some vague assortment of fruits; but after grinding it, all of its wiles are released. This is goes doubly while brewing it. The Rwanda Gitesi lures me into the cup with notes of cocoa, raspberry, brown sugar, and peaches.
The first few sips of this coffee greet my palate with silky and soothing notes of cocoa powder, honey, and rose hips. The coffee is sweet, to be sure, but it’s not decadent by any means. It even has just the slightest hint of cinnamon or nutmeg at the tail end of each sip, that gives the tip of the tongue a little spicy pinch. This is also a fruit-forward coffee, as crisp pink lady apple juiciness flows in over the top.
As it cools off, the flood gates burst open and a deluge of flavor comes rushing out of the cup. The coffee is unbelievably juicy, fruity, and sweet, even ever so slightly tart. But it’s a well-rounded, full-bodied that doesn’t wander too far in any direction.
Pink lady apple, cherry Pixie Stick (wonderfully sugary), hibiscus, currants, Beaujolais nouveau, blackberry, strawberry, and citrus acidity all crash together to make the most delicious bowl of fruit punch you could drink at the swankiest dinner party you could attend.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; winy acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Sometimes I can’t believe how utterly unique certain coffees are, and sometimes I can’t believe how very much alike some coffees can be. Take, for example, the coffee I reviewed yesterday—the Santa Julia El Salvador—and compare it side by side with today’s Rwanda Gitesi, from Ceremony Coffee Roasters. In terms of both flavor and profile, these two cups are nearly identical. Two countries that are thousands of miles apart, producing two very different coffees in radically different growing conditions, and employing radically different processing methods managed to create two cups that could be mistaken for one another.
These two coffees are like sororal twins who were separated at birth and grew up in different countries, then somehow made it into the same April MistoBox. There are certainly some obvious differences—for example, Santa Julia’s dominant flavor up front was caramel and Rwanda Gitesi’s was cocoa (which, I suppose, is fitting); and Julia was sexy and thin and elegant, Gitesi was every bit of sexy and elegant but in a more voluptuous, full-figured way.
But enough of comparing and contrasting—the Rwanda Gitesi deserves to take up the spotlight for a little while.
This is quite an extraordinary coffee. She really sings and sparkles like a Dreamgirl in a silver sequin gown in a V60 and a Chemex, and she can bring down the house as a single origin espresso. She has flavor bellowing out of her at every point in the cup and she makes a guy feel like a million bucks when she’s around. I very really couldn’t get enough of this coffee and I really wish I could have spent more time with it.
This is one I highly recommend ordering.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.