I recently ventured up to Milwaukee to check out the recently-opened shop, Canary Coffee Bar (write-up coming soon!). Canary is a multi-roaster coffee shop in Milwaukee’s Westown district that heavily features specialty coffee stalwart, Madcap Coffee (whom the owner, Colin Whitcomb, was once employed by). While I was there I had a pourover of Madcap Coffee Company’s Rwanda Kanzu. And I enjoyed so much, I took some home with me.
Over the past couple of decades, specialty coffee production in Rwanda has advanced substantially, creating a global demand for high-quality coffee from the country. Through the years, we’ve had the opportunity to see what was once only hopeful potential in this area manifest itself into the epitome of beautifully produced coffee. This has also given more money to farmers, created new jobs all across the supply chain, and given a positive lift to the country’s economy whose number one export is coffee.
Rwanda Kanzu washing station sits at 1900 meters in Nyamasheke, located in Southwestern Rwanda. The coffee grows in rich volcanic soil on rolling, steep hills that tower over the station reaching up to 2200 meters. The soil, high elevations, and cool climate are perfect for producing ripe, dense fruit. The washing station has poured resources into an improved infrastructure, training farmers on the best agronomic practices, and
improving quality which shines through in the cup each season.
Harvest lasts nearly 20 weeks at Kanzu, and the lots are separated out week by week. Each season we taste through the weekly separations to select the lots that we are most excited to share.*
region: Nyamasheke, Rwanda
farm: Rwanda Kanzu Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1900 – 2200 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
I’ve had this coffee from other roasters in the past and have enjoyed it every time. Those roasts were spicy and featured somewhat bold profiles. The profile Madcap employed for their iteration of the Rwanda Kanzu is quite a different experience. This aroma is much more genteel—delicate and nuanced, with a bouquet of white tea florals and red berries.
Rwanda Kanzu is as subtle as its aroma suggested it would be, each sip showcasing a little more nuance. This is on the lighter side of a medium-bodied coffee, with a silky mouthfeel. The first few sips start off with a balanced, floral cup (think white tea, citrus peel, hints of honey). As the coffee cools, it becomes decidedly brighter, with flavors of raspberry, melon, and a mellow grapefruit acidity. However, at the tail of the end of the cup, I am picking up a little bit—just a little bit—of a sweet spiciness (nutmeg, maybe?) that I experienced in previous versions.
*content courtesy of Madcap Coffee Company
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER
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.