Rwanda Nyamasheke
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MistoBox Week is once again upon us and this time around things are a little different: the folks at Misto tapped Mr. Ben Blake, of Draw Coffee fame, to personally curate this Box. See? Being a coffee celebrewty has its perks.

Anyway, Ben picked what look to be some really fantastic coffees to go into this Box, and I’m particularly excited about the one we’re cupping today from my good friends, Matt and Tim of Entimos Coffee.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Rwanda Nyamasheke, from Entimos Coffee Roasters in Citrus Heights, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Located on the Southwestern portion of Lake Kivu, Nyamasheke is a stunningly beautiful area in addition to the gorgeous coffee it produces. Although coffee growing over 2,000 meters above sea level isn’t necessarily one of coffee’s greatest enigmas it rarely seems as standard as it does in this region. Couple that thought with what is a canvas seemingly painted entirely with Bourbon and you have a lethal combination for top quality coffee.

The washing station has recently changed hands of ownership and is managed by a new group who seem to know what they are doing. Needless to say that’s exciting.

Several hundred farmers deliver their coffee cherry to the station where the seeds are depulped from the coffee fruit using disc depulpers. The seeds are then fermented for upwards of 24 hours before being washed in long channels, soaked overnight and then dried on raised beds. The station is at 1835 meters above sea level, and receives coffee cherry from farms in ranging in altitudes from 1700 to 2000+ meters.

the basics:

origin: Lake Kivu, Nyamasheke, Rwanda
farm: Kanzu Cooperative
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1700 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: standard

the coffee:

The aroma of the Rwanda Nyamasheke booms out of the bag with heavy, very forward scents of salty peanut butter and chocolate. Yep—I’m about to brew a Snickers bar. After brewing, the aroma is much different; it’s more delicate and refined with floral aromatics, bakers spices, and soft red fruits.

I’m taking the first few sips and this coffee isn’t messing around—it comes out of the gates swinging. It seems to me that, with a lot of Rwandan coffees, the immediately post-brew stage is sort of like an introductory period; this is the point of the cup that just gives you a few highlights of what’s to come towards the bottom of the cup. This particular cup, however, throws a lot at the palate right off the bat.

Chocolate and honey are the dominant flavors, laying down a somewhat thick syrupy bed on the palate, while shaved almond appears at the front and back of each sip—it is the first and last thing you taste, at the tip of the tongue and at the back of the throat. Even those soft red fruits in the aroma appear here, but very subtly in the background: apple, cherry, raspberry.

As it cools, the almond flavor becomes a touch more prevalent and another layer of this coffee unfolds itself: silky pomme and citrus fruits. The crisp apple has intensified, and a very juicy, very malic, tart Asian pear flavor has really come to the forefront of each slurp; it’s silky and juicy, but it also feels like it’s pinching and pricking the tip and sides of the tongue as it makes its way down the palate. Prickly pear. Meanwhile, a soft tangerine acidity bubbles up and sweeps over the palate, coasting up against the roof of the mouth. So there are three distinct and unique flavors happening all at once and they’re presenting themselves i n different regions of the mouth: honey coating the palate, oozing down the middle of the tongue; pommes streaming down the sides of the tongue like two canals; citrus over the top, riding the crest of a honey wave.

Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

The Rwanda Nyamasheke, from Entimos Coffee Roasters, is a beautiful and hearty coffee that shows so much character. It’s a coffee that puts it all out there and doesn’t pull any punches.

When I review these coffees, as you know, I write things like “Immediately post-brew…as it cools off…at room temperature…” because I find that there are generally three stages of a cup’s life and each stage has its own unique identity; flavors appear then disappear then reemerge or don’t. Some coffees have flavors that appear in Stage 1, then reappear in Stage 3. Every cup has a different profile, but they generally fit the same mold. Of course, there are always exceptions.dd

Like this coffee, for example.

At each stage of the cup’s life, it added more flavor onto itself. Furthermore, at no stage did any flavor back off—they only intensified to make up for the additional flavors the cup tacked on. “Here are the confections. Now, here are the confections plus some nuts. Oh you like that? How about confections and nuts and pommes? Yeah? Now how about all of that with some citrus on top?” And this coffee must have some really sturdy legs to support all that body!

Really, a fantastic coffee from Matt and Tim at Entimos. You guys nailed this one.

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