Gitesi is a washing station on the shores of Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda. As is common throughout East Africa, specialty coffee in Rwanda is primarily grown on small, family-owned plots, and the Gitesi washing station collects and processes coffee from approximately 2000 family farmers in the nearby hills.
Almost all high quality coffee from Rwanda, including Gitesi, is bourbon, a variety that is also prominent throughout the Americas. This coffee variety contributes to Gitesi’s approachable, sugary sweetness, while terroir and Rwandan processing techniques help provide this coffee with its exciting citrusy, fruity, and floral flavors.
This coffee was through Coffee Shrub and it is part of their Farm Gate pricing program, which helps insure that the many farmers contributing to this coffee receive a fair price for their crop. Click here to learn more about Coffee Shrub’s Farm Gate program.*
region: Kivu Kibuye, Rwanda
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Gitesi Co-op
elevation: 1800 – 2000 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Rwanda Kivu Kibuye is a really interesting thing; pretty complex – almost not sure what to make of it. I’m smelling dark chocolate powder (or cake batter – something kind of dusty), caramel, black tea leaves (dusty again, also kind of musty), stone fruit, and nuts.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee, I am so impressed with this coffee. It’s on the fuller side of a medium body and it features a supple, honeyed mouthfeel; but this is a fine, elegant, sophisticated cup of coffee. Just beautiful. Up front I’m tasting flavors of German chocolate bundt cake (bittersweet, doughy, brown sugar) and honey, and those heavier notes are laced with mellowly sweet black currant, nuts, and the light airiness of Assam tea (which also leads to a slightly astringent finish).
As the cup cools off, the tea-like qualities of this coffee become more and more apparent. It’s a little smoky, the dark chocolate note is now more malty than doughy, and it’s somewhat bitter; but there’s also an emergence of stunning, silky stone and pomme fruit flavors here in the back half: white peach, nectarine, apricot, more of that black currant, and the acidity (and sugary sweetness) of a caramel apple.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; malic acidity; slightly dry finish.
*content provided by Huckleberry Roasters
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.