Crown Jewel Rwanda Mahembe Murundo Triple Washed CJ1546 – Microlot 12 – 31723-1 – SPOT RCWHSE

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Warehouses Oakland

Flavor Profile Apple, brownsugar, pear, salted caramel, date, and honey

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This is a traditional washed coffee from Nyamasheke, Rwanda, produced by smallholder farmers in association with Furaha Umwizeye’s Kivubelt Murundo washing station. 

The flavor profile is sweet and balanced while still exuding nuanced and unique flavors. We enjoyed the coffee’s brown sugary sweetness, its softer autumnal fruit notes like spiced apple and pear, and the warming allspice and black tea finish. 

Our roasters found the coffee benefited from a strong early push into color change, but finishes smoothly and is easy to manage. 

The coffee easily dialed in to a vivacious and enticing espresso shot at standard ratios and times, and made for a complex and sweet pour-over at a slightly coarser grind setting in a V60. 

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Uncannily sweet, Mahembe-grown coffees like this lot processed at Murundo washing station benefit from so many factors, including legacy cultivar selection, meticulous processing, high elevations, and so much more. 

Our Crown Jewel from the region this year exudes flavors we so often associate with seasonal treats in the winter months here (despite its equatorial origins). Baking spice of one type or another appears frequently in our tasting notes; we picked up hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. We were also reminded of curiously alliterative autumnal fruits like pears and persimmons and pomegranates… and also apples. And of course, the signature tea-like fragrance and finish is here as well, often with the tannins of a black tea or oxidized oolong. 

Coffees like this, with such unique and nuanced flavors and profound provenance, are some of my favorites to sip on chilly mornings, savoring their warmth and reflecting on their stories. 

Source Analysis by Chris Kornman & Charlie Habegger 

I was fortunate to visit the Murundo washing station for the first time in late April of 2023. The washing station is tucked away deep in the backcountry at exceptional elevations in the Mehembe sector, a renowned and award-winning coffee growing neighborhood in Rwanda’s Nyamasheke district. 

There were many things that struck me as special about the location – a greenhouse-style raised bed platform for drying coffee under canopies, easy access to clean water and a sophisticated recycling system for the spent water after fermentation, sufficient staffing to cover drying parchment at a moments’ notice when rain threatened – but most of all, in one of the lowest-yielding seasons in recent memory, I was impressed by how busy the station was. Kivubelt has cultivated loyalty – in no small part by paying fairly for coffee cherries and labor – among their community and I felt humbled, and challenged, to witness, invest, and share. (You can read a more detailed journal of my visit to Rwanda on the Royal blog). 

This, our second Crown Jewel from the country for the 2023 harvest, is an outturn from the Murundo Coffee Washing Station (CWS), one of two processing sites the Kivubelt company operates. Kivubelt’s nomenclature refers to this lot as “Peoples’ Farm,” another term for smallholder coffee growers and the households they support.  

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.  

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. Murundo’s coffees in particular are full of complex sugars, currant-like acids, blackberry and spice flavors, and round, soft textures.  

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.   

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 Analysis by Chris Kornman 

2023 was a lean year for harvest in Rwanda, a country that typically exhibits exaggerated on/off biannual yield cycles. With less coffee to pick and sort, I often find these smaller harvest years to yield slightly better quality coffees – there’s less of a crunch for space at the drying tables and fermentation tanks, and it can be easier for coffees to get a little extra attention when hand sorted – either in whole cherry before processing or afterward as the parchment dries on raised beds. 

As is typical for most of the greatest Rwandan coffees, the coffee is “Triple Washed” indicating that the coffee cherries are floated and rinsed (to sort out low-density cherries as well as foreign material), washed again after fermentation is complete, and then soaked in clean parchment prior to drying. The process tends to improve cleanliness and complexity in the cup, with the added benefit of aiding the removal of any potential potato taste defect afflicted beans. 

The result here is a pristine green coffee with a standard 15+ size sort, a modest density, and very solid moisture content. I’d expect nothing less from Kivubelt, under the quality consultation of Ikawa House, who have become some of my most trusted and valued suppliers. 

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido 

This is the second Rwanda coffee from the season that hits our Crown Jewel program. From the Nyamasheke district of Rwanda, this coffee undergoes a triple wash process, contributing to is clean and crispy characteristics. Rwandan coffee is often known for its bright acidity, medium body and complex flavor profile and I was looking to showcase that on this roast. 

For this analysis, I spent over 4 minutes on drying. I was able to stretch yellowing also little more than 4 minutes, and spent 1:30 on post crack development with a total time of 10:10. Because of its average density I decided to charge my 5.5lbs. of coffee at 425.9F with 50% air, and added 100% gas in the first 30 seconds of the roast. I run with the air all the roast and push it to 100% just after the first crack. 

Being my first roast of the day, I got a high push on turning point and started lowering the gas to 60% at 2:19 and to 30% at 3:00. During yellowing, I was running at a relatively slow pace and hit first crack at 8:40 minutes and 386.1F. The coffee performed simply great on the drum, making the roast finish smoothly.  

On the cupping table this coffee reveals a citrus note on the acidity, reminiscent of peach, balanced by sweet maple syrup. The light body provides a delicate taste of chamomile tea and subtle undertones of lemon zest and tropical fruits. 

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

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

Another splendid coffee from Rwanda hits our table. This one has me recalling my brief visit to the beautiful country. Just up from the shores of Lake Kivu, this area is a network of hilltop roads surrounded on every side by agricultural endeavors from subsistence to cash crops, like this shining example of what a Rwandan coffee can offer. Something that struck me about my cuppings on-site in this area of Rwanda was the pointedly synesthetic ‘blue’ flavor I got from many of the coffees; this coffee is a prime example of that experience, to my palate.  

I knew that this coffee wasn’t far off from its companion lot, CJ1545 Rwanda Gihombo Jarama, in terms of green metrics. Medium density, moisture content, and screen size were noted for both. One small difference is that this lot has slightly larger screen sizes than the previous one. I opted for a slightly gentler roast here, starting with a charge temperature of 446F rather than 464F. As a result, I felt that this roast was a bit easier to control towards the finish. 

With a strong push of P9 power and F2 fan, I was still off to a running start. I decreased heat to P8 and increased fan to F3 at peak rate of change, then made a similar move to P7 and F4 just after yellowing began. I got a relatively unexpected increase in rate of change around 370F, but had tempered the roast well enough with P6 power to continue my gentle trajectory downwards in terms of rate of change after that initial spike. No crash here. At crack, I increased fan speed to F5 and no further moves were made until drop.  

My tasting had me reveling in the brown sugary sweetness of this coffee, while admiring the gentle and juicy acidity that gave it another dimension entirely. This coffee is fresher than fresh, and the fruit notes keep coming as the coffee cools, starting with stunningly cerulean blackberry and coalescing into plum, pear, and a curious root beer note that I truly appreciated (I love root beer).  

I want to try this coffee every which way: drip, espresso, cold brew, you name it. Would I could I? The answer is inevitably yes in this case.  

You can follow along with my roast here at 

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano  

Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here. 

Sweet and nuanced this Rwandan coffee can impress both the masses and your customers that are a bit pickier about their brews (as are we). On the first QC pass the flavors of black tea, currant, date and clementine stood out to us. 

The low-density roast was juicy, clean and tart. It had notes of apple, caramel, peach juice, butternut squash with a slight vegetal tone. When it was hot it was a little toasty but cooled into a really sweet cup.  

The high-density roast was balanced with flavors like cardamom, pear, maple syrup, oolong, orange, sweet chamomile: the list of deliciousness goes on! This roast felt like it really showed off the character this coffee has to offer.  

Between Chris and I, this was the preferred cup by a long shot. Where the light density roast was slightly disjointed the high-density roast was cohesive and moved like a well written story.  

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here: 

Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast 

Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast   


Brew Analysis by Author’s Joshua Wismans 

The care taken by the farmers in Nyamasheke and at the Murundo washing station is apparent on first sip of this beautiful Bourbon. In the cup, there’s a rich velvety mouthfeel and deep sweetness to complement a classic Rwandan acidity of citrus and raisin.  

Because of how present the mouthfeel and sweetness are, we gravitated towards the V60 to help highlight some of the acidity that is tucked in a little further in this coffee. For our first brew, we used a moderate grind and a brew ratio of 15.79 and achieved a cup that while delicious, was a bit heavy. One thing we noticed though was how prevalent notes of allspice were in this brew, and while I wouldn’t say was our favorite, it was certainly interesting and worth trying!

We continued to use the V60, but coarsened the grind. The resulting brew was our favorite by far. The coffee maintained its velvety body and sweetness, but the acidity was able to shine more through this more delicate profile. Notes of mandarine, grape, and mulling spices made this brew one we’re exceptionally excited about!

To perform our due diligence, I tried a brew with the same parameters, but on a Kalita Wave. The cup was coherent and delicious, but indeed lost some of the delicateness that made us so excited about the V60 brew. 

For this coffee, we recommend a conical brewer, moderate dose, and coarse grind.

Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith 

Recipe 1: 19g dose, 38g yield, 29 seconds
Recipe 2: 19.5g dose, 39g yield, 32 seconds 

From the first sip of the first shot I pulled, before I even had it dialed in, I could tell this coffee was going to make for a delicious espresso. To me, this espresso is perfect for this time of year, when the weather is cold, but the vibes are warm. With tasting notes ranging from sweet and spicy to floral and fruity, this coffee is packed full of goodness that any espresso drinker could enjoy. I pulled a lot of shots of this coffee and found something enjoyable in each of them, but the two I’m writing about today were ranging between 19-19.5g doses, the 38-39g yields, and 29-32 seconds. While they may look pretty similar on paper, they each had unique and exciting notes. Let’s get into it! 

First up, my favorite shot of the day, we’ve got a dose of 19g, a yield of 38g, and a pull time of 29 seconds. It was love at first sip! So much so that I pulled multiple identical shots of this recipe because I just had to share it with everyone in the building. Not only did it taste great, it also had a really enjoyable, juicy mouthfeel. Personally, I picked up notes of caramel apple, ginger ale, Hawaiian Punch, grilled pineapple, bergamot, nasturtium, and just a hint of clove. A few others recognized the ginger notes as well. Other tasting notes from the rest of the team include rosewater, dried orange, toffee, stone fruit, salted caramel, and cantaloupe. All in all, a very enjoyable shot. 

Next, we have my second favorite shot of the bunch, weighing in at a 19.5g dose, a 39g yield, and a 32 second pull time. This shot really emphasized the florality of this coffee. My tasting notes include rose, pomegranate, salted caramel, Luxardo cherries, paprika, carrot cake, and apple juice. Some tasting notes from the rest of the team also include pomegranate, cherry, and florals, as well as sweet cayenne, pear, almond pastry, and nutmeg. This shot was a little softer than the first and had a perfectly clean finish. 

I had a great time working with this coffee today, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quality washed coffee that’s incredibly drinkable, as well as packed full of fun, unique tasting notes. I tried shots with lower and higher doses, yields, and pull times, but I found this roast really shined in a medium dial range of 19-19.5g dose, 38-39g yield, and between 29-32 seconds. Enjoy!