One of the hottest coffees (pun totally intended) on the market so far in 2013 has been the Rwanda Dukunde Kawa. A lot of roasters got their hands on this one while they could.
I managed to snag a bag from Halfwit Coffee Roasters last month as a contribution to The Epic Coffee Exchange of 2013 and everybody in my group, including myself, loved it! It provided such an incredibly unique cup brew after brew; that coffee had one of the shortest lives at the Table so far this year because I brewed so much of it at such a rapid pace.
I couldn’t get enough.
But then it was gone.
Shortly after reading my review, Joshua and Shannon at Passion House informed me that they too are carrying the Dukunde Kawa and, wouldn’t you know it, Dear Reader – they were gracious enough to share some with us today.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Rwanda Dukunde Kawa, from Passion House Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Founded in 2000, The Dukunde Kawa Cooperative (Musasa) cultivates its high-quality coffee near a mountain gorilla habitat in central Rwanda. By producing high-end coffee for the international market and employing a majority female workforce (80% of their employees, actually), the cooperative ensures maximum benefits to local families. In 2003, it built a washing station with funds provided by the Rwandan ministry of defense. In exchange for this support, the Dukunde Kawa cooperative donates 10 percent of its net profits annually to fund the construction of other washing stations throughout Rwanda.
Fair Trade certified since 2004, Dukunde Kawa secures a high standard of living for Rwandan farmers by ensuring access to an economically and environmentally sustainable coffee industry.
Dukunde Kawa’s president, Mr. Anasthase, says that improved quality and investment via their relationship with Fair Trade USA has been enormously beneficial in Musasa. All the children in this cooperative attend school, or are provided with financial credits to attend school, and cooperative members enjoy access to health care and insurance. Dukunde Kawa was awarded the prestigious SCAA Sustainability Award in 2012, at the SCAA Expo in Portland, for their commitment to shade-grown coffee and agriculturally responsible replanting efforts. The cooperative is currently undergoing a complete transition to organic agriculture, and will probably be fully certified organic by the end of the year.
origin: Ruli, Gakenke, Rwanda
farm: Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
elevation: 1600-2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Fair Trade
The aroma coming out of the cup is unbelievable. Goodness gracious. This coffee is so sweet and so refined with a cavalcade of heavenly scents—butter, honeysuckle rose, brown sugar, bakers spices, rosemary, and freshly baked chocolate cake.
Creamy decadence and dried fruits greet my palate immediately post brew. Delicious cashew butter and brown sugar coats the palate, allowing notes of Fig Newtons and raisins to come slip-sliding in. There’s even a very slight coriander spice that tickles the tip of the tongue. As the cup starts to cool off, tropical fruit flavors and a citrus acidity present themselves, but they don’t overpower the palate—this doesn’t become a bright, lively, tropical coffee; these fruits are pretty mellow. Now I’m picking up notes of pomegranate, zesty orange peel, guava, coconut, and even a little banana.
And this is where the flavor stays at room temperature; it just kind of… sits. Most of the coffees that we review here have three stages and the profile is slightly or dramatically different at each. This one—not so much. Once it gets down to room temperature it smooths over and mellows, becoming a fluid bed of honeysuckle and brown sugar sweetness. It sparkles and it shines and it soothes the palate, all at the same time.
Medium body; oatmeal mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Passion House Coffee Roasters’s take on the Rwanda Dukunde Kawa is a completely different coffee than what I had a few weeks ago. And yet, however, there are a few major similarities: the first being that they are both coffees from Rwanda; secondly, they’re both very delicious in their own way.
This cup is a little bright, particularly in the finish, but it’s sweet and mellow and very, very well-rounded. This cup is an incredible comfort coffee—perfect for sitting in a big comfy chair by a window on a grey, rainy day.
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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.