Today’s coffee comes from Emmanuel, who is both president of Coopac Cooperative and SACOF Exporting. He works primarily in the Kivu/Western part of Rwanda, which has been a consistent favorite.
This coffee is from the same crop as this years Rwanda Cup of Excellence winner and has a similar taste profile, though reportedly less vivid. Cup of Excellence coffees represent the best from a particular crop and are more carefully hand picked, sorted and processed for competition. Though this isn’t a Cup of Excellence winner, it speaks well of the coffee that it came from the same crop.
This comes from the SACOF Coop in the city of Gakenke, which means that there isn’t just one farmer involved in producing this great coffee.
This is a Bourbon varietal, as most Rwandans are, and is fully washed.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping an Rwanda Rulindo Station, from Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gakenke, Northern Province, Rwanda
farm: Rulindo Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: SACOF Cooperative
elevation: 1800 – 2100 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Rwanda Rulindo is really complex with a lot of really unique scents happening. Caramel, brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, mingle with cherry cola and oatmeal, while a zesty citrus brightness tingles the nostrils.
My first few sips of the coffee immediately post brew are delicious. So sweet and sugary, with creamy caramel and wild honey that couple with juicy red delicious apple and black cherry to create a beautifully supple mouthfeel.
As it cools off, the cup gets really, really interesting. Now I’m tasting a really wide variety of notes… I’m talking oatmeal, maple syrup, plum, tootsie roll, carrot cake, blood orange, lemon, tobacco, dark cherry wine, mint, all topped off with a really zesty orange rind acidity and fresh herbal and hazelnut finish.
Full body; supple mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Wow! What a coffee. What a truly incredible, unique, wild, crazy coffee.
Tandem Coffee’s Rwanda Rulindo is one of the strangest, most wonderfully bizarre coffees I’ve had all year. It was a coffee that didn’t make any sense whatsoever, but somehow managed to not only work but to actually taste fantastic.
This coffee is definitely not for the faint of heart, but will reward the adventurer.
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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.