I launched this week of reviews on Monday with my contribution, Passion House Coffee Roasters’ Guatemala El Limonar; yesterday, Day Two, I reviewed Randy Levine’s (@randy_levine) contribution, Sulawesi Toraja from Rojo’s Roastery in New Jersey; today, Day Three, we tear open the packaging of David Simon’s offering.
(David Simon (@_simple_simon) is a coffee and bicycle enthusiast from the greater Boston, Massachusetts area.)
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are going to be sipping a cup of Gatare, from Arlington, MA-based roaster Barismo. Feel free to pull up a chair.
From the northwestern mountains of Burundi, close to the Rwandan border, this coffee comes from the Gatare lot of Sogestal Kayanza (a “sogestal” is the Burundi entity that oversees regional cooperatives, helping them warehouse and market their coffees).
This is somewhat familiar territory for us here at the Table; if you recall, a few weeks ago, we tried several cups of a Burundi from the Kayanza region from ROWSTER: New American Coffee in Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, that package may or may not have been stricken with the potato defect—a somewhat common defect that occurs in Rwanda and Burundi (chiefly) that results in the beans emitting a strong, musty raw potato aroma and flavor. So we didn’t get to taste the coffee for what it really was (ROWSTER described the coffee with words like “pineapple, mango, and citrus”; I tasted a lot of lime and split pea soup.
All of that to say, I’m really excited to get another opportunity to try some Kayanza coffee.
origin: Sogestal Kayanza, Burundi
elevation: 1680 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Jackson, Mibirzi
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The Gatare gently tickles the nose straightaway with its pleasant floral, sugar, and cocoa aromatics. There’s even a faint hint of berries wafting up, up, up…
Immediately post-brew, while the cup is still hot, I don’t know—it’s not really grabbing my attention. It’s moderately floral—I’m getting a little bit of lilac and violet; there’s also a baby bulge of cocoa belly that’s coating the palate.
Now the cup is cooling off and a lot of change is happening—slowly but surely. Behind the initial stage of the cup’s life is a soft swell of juicy fruitiness and soft, mellow acidity. It’s like a dry desert ground breaking up, cracking, and water gently trickling and streaming its way through the cracks. Fruit trees, plants, and flowers spring up here and there and now, the hot desert sun this cup started off as is all of a sudden becoming a lush, peaceful oasis.
The cup cools off even more and now I’m able to distinguish these fruit flavors: soft ripe plum, sweet cherry, lush strawberry, juicy currant, bright tangerine, and blush wine acidity. This cup isn’t a flood of juiciness and fruit, though—there’s a dry sweetness that accompanies each sip that balances out all the brightness: white chocolate, brown sugar, almond. Very well-balanced and rounded.
Medium body; mellow wine acidity; creamy, velvety mouthfeel; clean finish, sweet aftertaste.
the bottom line:
Gatare, from Barismo, offers a really solid cup of coffee. While this is a wonderfully flavorful cup, it doesn’t overwhelm you with flavor; there’s not much about it that’s particularly “exciting,” so to speak, but it does provide a lot of depth, complexity, and pleasantness from sip to sip. Such a great coffee.
This is the coffee you go to when you’re in the mood for a smooth and relaxing cup, but not a cup that’s bland or boring. This a coffee for folks who want a little excitement in their cup, but not too much. Too what can I liken Barismo’s Gatare…? A walk on the beach, a stroll through the garden, a nap in the hammock, someone to watch the sun rise with. This is the sort of coffee that reminds us coffee reviewers to slow down; to enjoy the coffee experience; to allow a coffee to tell you its story without reading too much into it.
Many, many thanks to @_simple_simon and Barismo for the reminders—excellent choice for your contribution to the Great Coffee Exchange.
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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.