Greetings, fellow coffee enthusiasts. Welcome back to my table here in the corner of this cafe. As I sit down to write this review, I realize now that I should have made this post my Valentine’s Day spectacular. Alas. Today we’re going to be sipping a Rwandan coffee from one of Caffe Streets’ favorite roasters – Portland, Oregon’s own Heart Coffee Roasters.

Care to join me? Feel free to pull up a chair.

I’m really excited about this coffee. Every time I wander into Caffe Streets, I see bags of Heart’s coffee sitting on the shelves and I’m always wanting to try their stuff, but with all of the other Caffe Streets awesomeness going on, I get sidetracked and distracted. Today, though, I wasn’t going to let their other offerings deter me – I was determined to have the Rwanda Buf Cafe.

I had my heart set on it.

Furthermore, Joshua Millman (of Passion House Coffee Roasters fame) recently informed that he has the same coffee in his roaster right now. So I’m excited about doing a comparative cupping of the two – a much more obvious reason for excitement than the “Heart/Passion” connection. Even furthermore, we are still in the midst of Black History Month, so it’s nice to be doing a review of another African coffee!

And the story behind this African coffee is sensational. In the southern portion of Rwanda lays Buf Cafe, the farm where this coffee comes from. Buf Cafe is one of the very, very, very few farms in all of Africa that is owned by a dynamic entrepreneur who happens to be of the female persuasion – a woman who stands as an inspiration to a countless amount of young women who aspire to be successful in Africa. Epiphanie Mukashyaka was widowed during the genocide of the early 1990’s, but decided to stay on her small farm, not only to rebuild it but also her surroundings. She helps over 7000 small farms in her community buy their beans and paying far above minimum wage to assist at her washing stations instilling pride for her beans. Mukashyaka has won her share of Cup of Excellence awards as well.

the basics:

Origin: Bufundu, Nyamagabe, Rwanda
Farm: Buf Cafe
Elevation: 1600-1900 meters above sea level
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Process: washed, sun-dried
Certifications: standard

the coffee:

The aroma has a very understated, muted grassy/herbal tinge to it, with hints of a bit of zest or citrus intertwined in the blades – as if someone spilled a cup of lemonade in the backyard.

The flavor, at first, isn’t all that different. Immediately post brew, while the coffee is still hot, the coffee seems a bit dull, but don’t be fooled – there are a lot of notes playing underneath the initial grassiness. The most prominent is this really interesting clove taste that sends tingles along the tongue. As the cup cools, things get a bit more exciting as the dominant vegetal and herbal profile gives way to more playful notes of cherries, cranberries, crisp apple juiciness, and grapefruit acidity. The one flavor, though, that remains constant throughout the cup’s lifespan is a very soothing bed of caramel smoothness that is both palate-coating and belly-pleasing.

the bottom line:

Heart Coffee Roaster’s Burundi Buf Cafe is a really laid-back sort of coffee that has a very somewhat personality when the cup cools – perfect for enjoying on a mild, sunshiny day. I must admit, though, it is a little dull. Very muted grass and clove flavors immediately greet the palate, and even when the cup cools to the fruitiness at room temperature, it’s still very understated and, really, kind of boring.

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