Price $176.55 per box

Box Weight 22 lbs

Position Spot

Boxes 29

Warehouses Oakland

Flavor Profile Plum, jasmine, molasses, dark chocolate

Add to your account:
Printer Icon Download PDF

This is a triple washed coffee from Akanduga, Rwanda produced by cooperative members of the Dukunde Kawa organization at the Mbilima washing station. It is certified Organic and Fairtrade.

The flavor profile is sweet and silky, with distinctly citrusy orange-zest acidity, caramelly sweetness, and notes of plum, hibiscus, rosemary, and red wine.

Our roasters found the coffee well-suited to multiple roast styles, and we chose a balanced heat approach to pair the bright citrusy acidity with a silky body and caramelized sweetness.

When brewed, we especially enjoyed the coffee as a pour-over in a flat-bottomed brewer with a low dose and fine grind, and found the coffee versatile as a single-origin espresso.

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman

Coffees like this are some of my personal favorites, and there’s really a lot to love here. While on the one hand the flavors are classically Rwandan – there’s orange-zesty citrus notes, mapley-caramelly sweetness, and hints of black tea, peppercorn, and raisin – on the other hand there’s a lot of subtlety and nuance that keeps me coming back.

I’ve had the very distinct pleasure and privilege of having sampled this exact coffee on site at the Dukunde Kawa cooperative, with the organization’s Quality Manager, Emerithe Mukamurigo. She’s a quiet cupper, and didn’t say much during our session, but when I told her my cup score and affinity for the coffee, well, she smiled like she’d known all along where the pot of gold had been hidden.

I’ve been enjoying this coffee as a pour-over, where the fresh ground fragrance and clean paper filter hone the coffee’s flavors into distinctly plummy notes. Doris’ Diedrich roast really let this coffee sing, and on the cupping table we noticed a lot of yellow fruit flavors like pineapple and dried mango. Given the time to dial the coffee in a little, Asha found the roast particularly well suited for flat bottomed pour-overs like the Kalita wave, while Josh found the coffee versatile as a single origin espresso and served me a lovely and expressive shot that was dosed low and pulled long, and tasted just like fresh tangerine and salted caramel.

Source Analysis by Chris Kornman and Charlie Habegger  

The Mbilima washing station, established by Dukunde Kawa cooperative in 2005, sits at a dizzying 2020 meters above sea level, making it one of Rwandas – and by extension, the world’s — highest elevation coffee cherry receiving and processing hubs. It also happens to be the locus of the cooperative’s only certified organic coffee.   

Dukunde Kawa is a well-known producer group in Rwanda, as much for exceptionally bright and memorable coffees as for its exceptional business structure: the cooperative carries multiple certifications for its various washing stations including Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, and more than 80% of its workforce is women. Not only that but the organization is located in the Northern province, which, despite its closeness to Kigali, tends to be little-known in specialty coffee compared to the west and south. Since first organizing in 2000 with a single wet mill, years before the majority of washing stations in Rwanda even existed, Dukunde Kawa has received sustainability awards from the SCA as well as placing in the top positions in Rwanda’s Cup of Excellence competition. Today the cooperative has over 2,000 farmer members and four washing stations in the Gakenke District north of Kigali. Mbilima is one of these stations. 

Mbilima was established to give farmers in this area a shorter commute to deliver cherry during harvest (Ruli, the coop’s other nearest station, made for a long journey for many and the quality of cherry suffered as a result). Processing at Mbilima includes cherry sorting by the farmers themselves upon delivery. The cherry is then floated in a large receiving bay to identify and remove floaters (low-density cherry which is processed separately). This is all pretty standard stuff for Rwanda, but it’s what follows that makes Mbilima and Dukunde Kawa’s coffees particularly complex and unique.  

The floated and sorted coffee cherries are again sorted, this time mechanically for density by a top of the line Pinhalense machine. Afterwards, the cherries are both depulped and then demucilaged, a rare second-step. Another idiosyncrasy: the coffee is then washed and channel graded before fermenting. Fermentation usually lasts 18 hours and is completed without water. Once the dry fermentation is complete the parchment is soaked in fresh water between 18-24 hours to halt fermentation and the stabilize moisture content of the batch. After the soak the parchment is washed and graded once again, this time in long shallow concrete channels with water flowing through, which allows the parchment to naturally separate (again) by density. From here, each separate density grade is moved to pre-drying tables to be hand-sorted for imperfections and gently dried to the touch. After the hand-sort is complete, the parchment is then moved to fully exposed drying tables to finish drying, a process that takes between 14-21 days depending on the climate.  

Demucilaged coffee doesn’t usually need to ferment, but they do it anyway. Most washed coffee is channel graded only after fermenting. Why do they do all this extra work?  

“Because it improves the flavor,” Ernest Nshimyimana, Dukunde Kawa’s Managing Director, explained to us on a recent visit. It’s his and the cooperative’s opinion that the extra steps and extra work are warranted, and evident in the cup. Beyond this, they earn premiums for their coffees above and beyond the usual Fairtrade and organic minimums. 

These premiums, in addition to the direct benefits of cash payments to farmer-members of the cooperative, also support additional services, including a fully realized dairy operation. After a few years of a successful program that matched farmers with dairy cattle, the cooperative suddenly had more milk than anyone knew what to do with. So they started selling it to local markets. Then came the yogurt. Then the cheese. With this growth pattern, Dukunde is well on its way to eclipse coffee sales with dairy in the coming years! 

In the meantime, we’re thrilled to offer this Crown Jewel from Mbilima, a small selection of a larger volume of coffee Royal purchased for the season, renewing one of our longest-lasting partnerships in East Africa. 

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

No surprises here, super clean well sorted coffee starting from the cherry all the way to the dry mill, all managed by Dukunde Kawa with precision and efficiency. This coffee is a classic Rwandan 15+ with a little spillover in the 14 screen, a fairly wide range and a little small overall in size. It has a slightly high density, though I’ll admit I’m a little surprised given the high elevation and low moisture it’s not even higher. Sometimes, and this is purely speculative, I’ve noticed that coffees with a post-fermentation soak (like this one) are occasionally a little lower in density without necessarily behaving like they are in the roaster. You’ll have to check Doris’ roast notes on that to confirm, however.

Overall this is a super clean, very stable looking green that should give roasters very little trouble on the shelf or in the machine.

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido

This coffee is our second Rwandan Crown Jewel of the year, a triple-washed coffee featuring a very evenly sized Bourbon cultivar. In terms of density, it measures 722 grams per liter, with an average moisture content of 10%. 

My approach to roasting this coffee was a slow start, applying energy from the turning point to the color change. This would help the roast to continue with the remaining energy until the first crack. 

Due to its density, I decided to charge at my medium to low starting temperature of 420°F, with the gas set at its lowest, 30%. As mentioned earlier, I began applying gas at the first minute, just before the turning point, at 100%. 

As I observed the coffee absorbing the energy and advancing the roast, I reduced the gas to 70% and then immediately to 30% upon reaching the color change. 

Airflow for this roast was set at 50% from the start and increased to 100% at the 5-minute mark. Initially, I aimed for a gentle start, and later, I increased the airflow after reducing the gas, as I noticed the coffee had high energy, and I wanted to slow down the caramelization to achieve a longer and more complex flavor on the cup.  

The coffee began cracking at 385°F at a slow pace, which worked just great to complete the development phase in 1 minute and 26 seconds, with a final temperature of 394.8°F. 

The final cup presented an allspice aroma, a rounded body complemented by sweet citrus, pineapple, plum, guava, and cantaloupe flavors, along with a clean caramel finish. 

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Chris Kornman 

 I’m making a guest appearance for the next couple of weeks here on the small roasters, and I’ll be using my “500g Quick Roast” as a starting point, which employs a high charge temperature (482F IBTS), a constant D4 drum speed (about 60RPM), and a general trend throughout the roast of decreasing power and increasing fan speed gradually with a target of about an 8 minute roast and roughly 90 seconds of post crack development. You can check out this profile on here. 

This lovely Rwandan coffee took heat fairly predictably up until about the time color change was noticeable, when it began moving very quickly despite increasing the fan speed a bit. I finally managed to get the rate of rise under control by the time first crack arrived, but had spent a mere two-and-a-half minutes in the Maillard phase, a solid minute less than intended. Would the rapid color development affect the flavor? 

I went ahead and collected Colortrack data on the roast, my 61.95 (whole) / 55.34 (ground) were both about one point lighter than Doris’ Diedrich roast, so we cupped them together. I was initially suprised at how similar tasting the two roasts were. As the cups cooled, Doris and I agreed that while the Diedrich roast was a little sweeter and fuller bodied, the acidity and flavor of the Bullet roast were both zesty and compelling. 

This high-grown bean can easily handle plenty of heat, and despite the lack of time in Maillard reactions, my quick, sub-eight-minute roast was delicious and in-character, with notes of apricot, grilled peach, orange and plum zest, and aromatic rosemary. 

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Chris Kornman

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.

A little while ago I tweaked the LD & HD sample roasts on the Ikawa to use a slightly lower end temperature, and I figured I’d try them out this week again in Isabella’s absence.

Doris and I cupped and compared the two roasts, and enjoyed them both immensely. Doris preferred the complexity and dense flavor expression of the Low Density roasting style, noting guava, tangy plum, and loving its full body. I preferred the cleanliness and delicately floral notes of the HD roast, which allowed the acidity to shine through a little more clearly, but with a lighter body. I tasted coriander and Meyer lemon.

The coffee seems well suited to a choose-your-own adventure style of roasting, and this Ikawa roast helped inform Doris’ balanced approach on the larger Diedrich machine.

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 Asha Wells 

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that this coffee, that comes to us on high, is heavenly beyond reproach.  The loving labor put into this triple-washed coffee is quite evident on the palate, with a well-rounded body that deserves to be luxuriated in.  

To kick off this brew analysis we paired a relatively fine grind with a moderate dose of 19g to 300g of water and the Kalita Wave. This first brew yielded deep citrus notes, clean hibiscus, and a subtle nuttiness, with a TDS of 1.46 and a moderately high extraction percentage of 20.06. While we enjoyed this profile, there was a heaviness and a slight herbaceous finish that we thought could be refined. 

 Sticking with our slightly finer grind and reducing the dose to 18g gave us a milder, more delicate body, with a lush fruit sweetness and buttery finish. Yielding a TDS of 1.36 and an extraction percentage of 19.87, we all thought this cup was an excellent example of what this coffee has to offer. 

Moving these same profile parameters to a conical brewer (V60), we again got many of the positive attributes of the previous brew, with slightly more citrus and tannic notes. With a TDS of 1.38 and an extraction percentage of 19.93. While we enjoyed this brew, the team here had an overall preference for the previous brew.  

This coffee really shines in a flat-bottomed brewer with a slightly lower dose and a moderately fine grind. 

Espresso Analysis by Joshua Wismans

Just when you think East Africa has given you all it’s got for the season, in comes this stunning lot from Dukunde Kawa. As an espresso, this coffee shines as a trifecta of fruit, caramel, and floral come together to give you a shot that’s sure to impress. Using a few different recipes, you can highlight various parts of the inherent profile of this coffee. 

For our first recommended recipe, we chose a lower dose and longer extraction time. The resulting espresso really highlighted the citrus and stone fruit at the core of this coffees flavor profile. Really really great plum, raspberry and tangerine sing together with the sweetness of caramel and light rosemary and ginger aromatics.  

For our second recommended recipe, we updosed to 19 grams and pursued a shorter extraction time.  The resulting espresso showcased the florals of this coffee, giving us notes of lavender complimented by red grape, valencia orange, and black pepper.  This recipe brought forth a lot of juiciness to go along with the florals.

Obviously, the roast will dictate how you end up pulling these shots, but if you follow the recommended roast profiles, use these parameters as a good starting point