The first coffee we're bringing into the Carrier CSA comes from Rwanda's Kibuye Valley, near Lake Kivu. Most of the coffee farming in this region is done on small-scale, family farms on less than a hectare (about 2.5 acres) of land. Our supplier purchases this coffee directly from a private washing station located here. In a future post we'll talk more about the difference between "fair trade" and "direct trade", but for now it's important to note that purchasing the coffee directly means that the prices paid for green beans are at least 50% more than fair trade prices. In many cases the price is +100% more than fair trade.
The particular station where this lot was purchased serves nearly 2000 farmers in the region. Altitude at the station is 1740 meters, and some of the farmers have coffee planted up to 2000 meters. In general, higher altitude farms produce a better tasting coffee. The cooler mountain temperatures slow the growth cycle for the coffee shrub which ultimately results in more pronounced and interesting flavors. Flavor in coffee is derived from sugars which get more complex the longer the bean has to develop.
We're offering this Rwanda in both a medium and dark roast. The medium roast produces a more floral cup, with honey and vanilla flavors. As the roast progresses into dark, the sweet flavors of the coffee deepen with rich, chocolaty notes. Both the medium and dark roasts are great as pour over, french press or drip brews while the dark roast makes an amazing espresso.
This will be the first of our CSA coffee shares, starting 3/15.
We'd love to hear what you think of this coffee! Post feedback and your own tasting notes in the comments section below.