overview

Overview 

This is a traditional triple-washed coffee from the Cyiya Community in Nyamasheke District, Western Province, Rwanda, produced by smallholders organized around Furaha Umwizeye’s farm and organization called Kivubelt. 

The flavor profile contains the intense brightness of lime and orange, with a silky body, raisin and pie-like sweetness, and hints of cinnamon and clove. 

Our roasters found the coffee responsive to heat changes and generally well behaved at both moderate and hotter/faster roasts. 

When brewed, our baristas noted that its tendency to extract a little slowly could be dialed in using a faster-draining pour-over like the Stagg brewer, and we’re currently exploring roast and brew profiles for espresso service at The Crown. 

taste

Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow 

Packed with syrupy sweetness like raisin, honey, and cola, this delightful Rwanda from our long-standing sourcing partner is balanced by elegant floral notes and an intense citrus acidity that ranges from makrut lime leaves to orange zest. Baking spices make an appearance too, balancing the cup with base notes of cinnamon and clove. The body is silky and clean, and the complexity and sweetness of this coffee bring whispers of warm blackberry pie to mind. Our Tasting Room has already seen this coffee on the pour-over bar, and it’s soon to arrive as a featured espresso, where the thick sweetness of raisin, the delicacy of rose and the Valencia orange punch come together to make the perfect shot.  

source

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger and Chris Kornman 

One of this year’s suite of coffees from the boutique Kivubelt group in western Rwanda, this lot comes from the Jarama Coffee Washing Station (CWS), one of two processing sites the Kivubelt company operates. Cyiya is a small community with a high elevation and distinct forest influence that contributes great potential to the coffee. Thanks to the farmers making the most of this potential, Cyiya’s coffee is annually among the top lots processed by the Jarama CWS.  

Kivubelt was established in 2011 by Furaha Umwizeye, after returning to Rwanda with a master’s degree in economics from Switzerland. Born and raised in Rwanda, Umwizeye’s goal with Kivubelt is to create a model coffee plantation, as sustainable in agriculture as it is impactful in local employment and empowerment. The company began with 200 scattered acres of farmland in Gihombo, a community in Rwanda’s coffee-famous Nyamasheke district that runs along the breathtaking central shoreline of Lake Kivu.  

Under Umwizeye’s leadership, Kivubelt has planted 90,000 coffee trees on their estates, which now employ more than 400 people during harvest months and is a kind of coffee vocational school for local smallholders interested in improving their farming. Kivubelt has also acquired two washing stations, Murundo and Jarama, which combined not only process coffee from the company’s estates, but also that of more than 500 smallholders in the region, offering quality premiums and training programs for participating farming families. This lot from Jarama CWS was picked across March, April, and May by the station’s participating 100 local smallholders from Cyiya. Cyiya sits inland from the lake on the outskirts of Nyungwe National Forest Park, a rainforest preserve known for its gorillas, virgin canopy, and chilly, oxygen-abundant biosphere. Because Cyiya’s coffee tends to perform so well, contributing farms regularly receive 50% over the local market price for their cherry.   

 

The Nyamasheke district in Rwanda is gifted in terroir. The cool, humid climates of both Lake Kivu and the Nyungwe Forest National Park keep groundwater abundant throughout the uniquely hilly region. Kivu itself is part of the East African Rift whose consistent drift creates volcanic seepage from the lake’s bottom and enriches the surrounding soils. Coffees from this region are often jammier and heavier than in the rest of the country. Coffee from Cyiya’s farmers in particular are honey-sweet and tend to be delicately floral, with lychee, citrus, and sweet tobacco flavors.   

 

The history of coffee in Rwanda is complex, at times tragic, at others triumphant. Commercial arabica coffee cultivation was introduced to the region under German colonial influence as early as 1905. After WWI the Belgians had replaced the Germans, and by 1927 were “aggressively promoting coffee production.” In 1931 they formally legitimized its forced cultivation. After independence and civil war in the early 1960s, coffee had become Rwanda’s primary source of foreign currency by the middle of the twentieth century. 

Overreliance on coffee caused a massive crisis with devastating consequences in the years following 1989’s dissolution of the International Coffee Agreement and resulting devaluation of the crop on global markets. Faced with a cratering economy, a foreign-backed military incursion, and sparked by the death of the country’s president and the president of Burundi when their plane was shot down over Kigali, civil war and violence once again beset the country in April of 1994. Atrocities were enacted asymmetrically along ethno-political lines. 800,000 people died in less than 100 days. 

In the wake of such violence there’s little that can be said that somehow doesn’t cheapen or diminish the unmitigated tragedy of the loss of life. Yet if there’s a motif that can be held as hope in such circumstances, it’s the resilience of humanity. In the case of Rwanda, its revival happened to be aided, somewhat unexpectedly, by the very crop which had catalyzed its crisis: coffee. 

Interest in the coffee sector both locally and internationally has helped propel the country into a coffee renaissance. Rwanda, one of the most rapidly modernizing countries on the continent, has rebuilt a quality-focused coffee industry by investing in training and infrastructure, and we as buyers now have an awe-inspiring reference for how snappy, mouth-watering, and kaleidoscopic the Bourbon lineage can be. Kivubelt is one example of focused entrepreneurship aimed at a very specific landscape. 

 

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Unsurprisingly, this is perfectly sorted green coffee. The team at Kivubelt have their processing dialed in and we regularly expect and receive exceptional preparation, and this lot from Cyiya is no exception. 

The usual southern Rwanda metrics here include high density, moderate moisture figures, and screen sizes selected at 15 and up. Overall compared to similar quality coffees, the sizing is a little small and spread out but I doubt you’ll find this affects your ability to roast and store the coffee. 

With green measurements like these you can bet the coffee will be able to soak up some heat. Check our roasting notes for some initial thoughts. 

diedrich ir-5

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis roasted by Doris Garrido written by Chris Kornman 

This is among my favorite coffees every year; I look forward to Rwanda arrival season with extreme anticipation (at least in part because I source this coffee and feel deeply connected to its origin and the people such as Furaha Umwizeye at Kivubelt and Laetitia Mukandahiro of Ikawa House, the QC team that helps Kivubelt with lot selection. Laetitia and I have been exchanging cup notes for more than 10 years now and I don’t know many people whose palates I have greater faith in. 

Fittingly, one of the others I trust to this degree is Doris Garrido, production and roasting assistant and cupper extraordinaire. Her roast this week confidently employed a new twist on her airflow profile on our Diedrich IR-5 with good results for this Rwandan coffee from the country’s western edge. 

With a decently warm charge temperature of 420F and 50% airflow (to allow early moisture to evacuate the drum more quickly) Doris charged a 5.5-lb batch and kicked up the gas about halfway to the turning point. With a bit of momentum behind the beans and exactly halfway to color change, she closed the airflow and began incrementally reducing the burner power. 

With the burners at idle (30%) by the six minute mark, she re-opened the air to 50% and held steady, letting the coffee coast into first crack with just enough exothermic energy to keep moving apace for a medium-light roast (54 ground Colortrack) in just under 10 minutes. 

On the cupping table, we found some mildly tart lemongrass, grapefruit, cranberry and “super-lime” with accompaniment of some light baking spice like clove and a whisper of florality and plenty of sweetness. Silky and clean, this was a balanced roast and gave us great insight into the coffee’s potential. 

We’ll be scaling the roast up in the coming weeks to use as espresso in the tasting room. There are a few minor adjustments we’ll make in the process, likely giving the beans a little extra heat early on to refine the acidity, and opening the airflow up a bit more to improve the clarity of the finish. 

aillio bullet r1

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

Much like my compatriots, I’m very excited to roast and taste coffees from Rwanda and other surrounding countries as soon as they arrive. This area of the world is incredibly beautiful and has coffee to match the surroundings. Frequently, these Great Rift Valley coffees leave me with a synesthetic impression, and are some of the only ones that do have such an effect. So, naturally, I think they’re special for a number of reasons.  

I went into this roasting knowing that it could take a little extra heat, and I wasn’t shy with the burners. Starting at 428F temperature and P8 power shortly after charge, I went into the roast full-force. My airflow was minimal at the start, but I ramped up to F2 a little before yellowing, and F3 at yellowing proper. At 6:00 / 350F I reduced heat application to P7, then increased fan speed to F4 about 30 seconds before first crack, when I increased further to F5. This coffee’s RoR definitely increased leading up to first crack, but not so much that I found evidence in the flavor. This roast spent the majority of its time in Green/Drying at 48%, then 37% in Maillard, and a healthy 14% (1:28) in post-crack development. The final temperature was quite low at 401F, but this coffee colored well. Seeing my RoR react the way it did wasn’t a confidence builder, but this roast turned out fantastically in the end.  

The flavors in the cup were simply extraordinary. My first note was just a color: deep cerulean blue. Without a hint of roastiness, this coffee displayed juicy lime candy, candied ginger, and violet floral notes in cup. My Chemex of this coffee was absolutely resplendent, and addled with caramelized sugar, vanilla, and top notes of bright lime and clean raisin, with a honeyed finish.  

I really can’t recommend this coffee highly enough for any coffee lover. It will do well as a single origin drip, full immersion brew, or espresso. It will please the lover or bright fruits, or the fan of deep sugars. It’s as elegant as it is accessible. A coffee for everyone!  

You can find my profile for this coffee here, on roast.world: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/uUY3R4ev6mSZvZ7qnBmcC 

 

ikawa pro v3

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Standard practice these days for Ikawa roasting is to put our Crown Jewels through a gamut of 4 reliable profiles at what we’d consider to be “drinkable” sample roast levels. The profiles have been developed and refined over time to showcase the best of various green metrics and processing styles to give us a window into their performance on our production roasters.  

This bright, dense Rwanda was a perfect candidate for some of our more balanced Ikawa profiles. While our hot/fast sample roast seemed to toast these beans a little too much, and the low-airflow profile was less complex, our roasts that move through drying phase quickly and extend Maillard reactions were clear favorites on the table. 

Roast 1, our “Maillard +30” sample roast ended with a short 50 seconds of development with over 40% of total roasting time in each of the two earlier phases. The cup was juicy and bright with notes of green apple, orange, pineapple, and graham cracker pie crust. 

Roast 2, Roasting Assistant Doris Garrido’s unique take on an Inlet profile is driven by programming the heat source rather than the temperature measured in the roasting chamber. The result is a much smoother roast curve, which belies the high charge temperature and quick drying phase. Among its core features is a whopping 50% of Maillard phase, which in this case produced a silky-smooth body in addition to bright fruit notes like cranberry, with a brown sugar sweetness. 

This knowledge will be used to help us scale our roasts up to profile the coffee as an espresso.  

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Inlet SR1.4 +DG v5 

brew

Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill 

This is the first Rwandan coffee I’ve received for brew analysis in my time here at The Crown, and it’s one that elicits excited reactions from the senior members of our team. I brewed it up with Elise and Kaleb, and it quickly became clear to me why folks get so excited by the coffees from Kivubelt. I’ve come to expect fruity, complex, delicious coffees from Rwanda, and this one is an excellent example of those qualities. We brewed it up a bunch of times on a Hario V60 brewer, a Bee House brewer, and a Fellow Stagg brewer, and received some sweet and complex yet chuggable brews.   

 

I want to start with my favorite brew. We pulled out a Fellow Stagg brewer, which is a smallish flat-bottom device that also tends to drain a bit quicker than other flat-bottom brewers. It’s a device that excels at producing cleaner, complex brews with layers of flavor while minimizing bitterness and funk. We ground a dose of 18 grams of the coffee at an 8 on our EK43, and brewed it with 300 grams of water, working with a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:16.67. We broke up the water pulses to accommodate the smaller volume of the brewer, starting with a bloom dose of 45 grams of water. At 30 seconds into the brew, we added 105 grams of water, and another 100 grams of water at 1:30, and a final pulse of 50 grams of water at 2:10. The brew finished draining at 2:59 with a TDS reading of 1.4, and an extraction rate of 20.99%–a bit stronger than the SCAA’s ideal range. I worried a little bit about the coffee tasting bitter, astringent, and over-extracted. It was a delight to sip, and Elise, Kaleb, and I each independently noted flavors of pie—blackberry pie, blueberry pie, and key lime pie. The dominant notes were of buttery pie crust, berries, and lime, with complementing notes of graham cracker, vanilla, and brown sugar. The brew was beautifully balanced with a pleasing, rich body and a sparkling acidity. This is exactly the kind of brew that captivates us, dragging us into over-caffeination territory. 

On the conical Hario V60 brewer, we tried a few recipes to further examine the contours of the acidity of the coffee. An initial brew from a dose of 17.5 grams of coffee ground at an 8 on our EK43 with a total brew time of 3:56 had bright notes of lime, softer notes of cola, a molasses sweetness, and the mouthfeel of a black tea. For the second brew noted below, we kept the coffee-to-water ratio of 1:17.14 and coarsened the grind to a 9 on our EK43. We started with 50 grams of water for a 40 second bloom and we added pulses of 150 grams and 100 grams of water at 40 seconds and 1:40, respectively. The brew finished in 3:44 with a TDS reading of 1.36 and an extraction rate of 21.45%. The acidity was remarkably softer in this brew, allowing notes of cinnamon and white pepper to stand out. There was the sweetness of raisins and concord grapes, and soft hints of the lime and blackberry that dominated other brews. When brewed on the Bee House brewer, the acidity of our brews was even softer, with soft hints of tangerine, and the creamy, nuttiness of white chocolate and macadamia nuts. This is a delicious, complex coffee that is a joy to play with, and we are promptly offering it on our pour over bar in the Tasting Room. 

Origin Information

Grower
Jarama Farm
Variety
Local bourbon varieties
Region
Gihombo Sector, Nyamasheke District, Western Province, Rwanda
Harvest
March-May
Altitude
1700 - 1900 masl
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

One of this year’s suite of coffees from the boutique Kivubelt group in western Rwanda, this lot comes from the Jarama farm, one of three estates owned and operated by Kivubelt in the Nyamasheke regionJarama is a 56-acre estate and the largest planted area that Kivubelt oversees. Kivubelt was established in 2011 by Furaha Umwizey, after returning to Rwanda with a master’s degree in economics from Switzerland. Born and raised in Rwanda, Umwizey’s goal with Kivubelt is to create a model coffee plantation, as sustainable in agriculture as it is impactful in local employment and empowerment. The company began with 200 scattered acres of farmland in Gihombo, a community in Rwanda’s coffee-famous Nyamasheke district that runs along the breathtaking central shoreline of Lake Kivu. Under Umwizey’s leadership, Kivubelt has planted 90,000 coffee trees on their estates, which now employ more than 400 people during harvest months and is a kind of coffee vocational school for local smallholders interested in improving their farming. Kivubelt has also acquired two washing stations, Murundo and Jarama, which combined not only process coffee from the company’s estates, but also that of more than 500 smallholders in the region, offering quality premiums and training programs for participating farming families. This lot from Jarama was picked and processed across March, April, and May by the farm’s 200 employees. The Nyamasheke district in Rwanda is gifted in terroir. The cool, humid climates of both Lake Kivu and the Nyungwe Forest National Park keep groundwater abundant throughout the uniquely hilly region. Kivu itself is part of the East African Rift whose consistent drift creates volcanic seepage from the lake’s bottom and enriches the surrounding soils. Coffees from this region are often jammier and heavier than in the rest of the country. Coffee from Jarama farm in particular is rich and delicate, with hibiscus aromatics, soft acidity, and toasted nut. Coffee estates like Kivubelt’s are rare in Rwanda, where coffee was originally forced upon remote communities by the Belgians as a colony-funding cash crop. The Belgians distributed varieties cultivated by the French on Ile de Bourbon (now Reunion Island, near Madagascar) but had so little invested in coffee’s success that they immediately allowed to decline through lack of investment in both infrastructure and the farmers who grew it. As a result the sector suffered near total obscurity in the coffee world from Rwanda’s independence in 1962 until the period of rebuilding following the country’s devastating civil war and astonishingly tragic genocide in 1994. Rwanda’s former cash crop, however, would roar to international buyer attention in the late 2000’s thanks to one of East Africa’s most successful coffee interventions, the Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda Through Linkages (PEARL). PEARL was a sweeping infrastructure and education investment targeting large regions of Rwanda whose coffee was for the most part processed poorly at home and exported with little traceability. The program, designed and led by the University of Michigan, Texas A&M and a host of Rwandan organizations, vastly increased processing hygiene by building washing stations. It also organized remote and under-resourced smallholders into cooperative businesses capable of specialty partnerships. Perhaps most significantly for the long term, it took the legacy bourbon genetics buried in abandon and polished them anew to the amazement of coffee drinkers everywhere. In the decade following PEARL and subsequent investments in the country’s coffee sector, Rwanda, one of the most rapidly modernizing countries on the continent, has built steadily on top of those first coffees, and we as buyers now have an awe-inspiring reference for how snappy, mouth-watering, and kaleidoscopic the bourbon lineage can be. Kivubelt is one example of focused entrepreneurship aimed at a very specific landscape.