Not so long ago, my good friend Maxwell Mooney posted a long list of coffee roasters he’s had the opportunity to work with while owning and operating his outstanding shop, Narrative Coffee. I keep a running list of all the establishments I want to check out and purchase goods from (whether they be coffee roasters, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, thrift stores, record stores, bookstores) on curated Google Maps, so I basically imported all of the roasters he listed into my Roasters to Try map. With his impeccable taste in coffee, no further research is needed – I trust him.
We find a coffee from one such roaster at the table today.
Welcome to the table. Today we’re cupping the Rwanda Ruvumbu, from Methodical Coffee in Greenville, South Carolina. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The Ruvumbu washing station is where many of Rwanda’s smallholder coffee process their crop. Nestled in Rwanda’s hilly lakeside district Nyamasheke, farms benefit from high altitudes, regular rainfall, and volcanic soil. These conditions are ideal for growing coffee, and the coffees from the Ruvumbu washing station are award-winning – they won the 2014 Rwanda Cup of Excellence and a Presidential Award. After being processed, 100% of Ruvumbu’s combined smallholder crops are milled and exported by The Rwanda Trading Company.*
Ruvumbu washing station is like many of the washing stations in Rwanda over the last few years that have gone from being Cooperative, communally operated to being privately owned. This is in part due to many washing stations not being operated profitably. Previously, when Ruvumbu was a cooperative they processed 100 metric tons a year, while now operating as a privately-owned washing station they process 250 metric ton.
region: Nyamasheke, Rwanda
farm: Rwanda Ruvumbu Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1800 meters above sea level
varietal: Red Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Rwanda Ruvumbu is full-on with the sweetness of dark fruits and cocoa. There’s a bit of roastiness, as well, which complements its natural aromas and adds depth.
In the cup, it’s a full-bodied, juicy, voluptuous coffee that fills my mouth and rests heavy on the palate. It’s fruit-forward but in no way a bright coffee. Fleshy golden raisin and currant are the highlights while molasses and cocoa serve as the backbone. As the coffee cools it gets a bit livelier with flavors of pluot (apricot and plum hybrid) and persimmon, and the heaviness of the cocoa and molasses give way to the lighter sweetness of brown sugar. The coffee has a clean finish, albeit with a very slight papery aftertaste, perhaps due to its roast level.
Overall, a wonderful introduction to Methodical Coffee. Their Rwanda Ruvumbu serves as an excellent dessert coffee; one to be paired with a light pastry or vanilla ice cream. Another note that I’d like to add is that their packaging and branding is absolutely stunning. The artist who designed the packaging is Annie Koelle – give her a follow on Instagram to check out her other incredible work.
*content courtesy of Methodical Coffee Roasters
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.