DR Congo is one of the most dangerous and difficult places from which to source coffee. This washed coffee was milled at the Hutwe station at 5000 feet altitude in the Kirumba zone, a very challenging region plagued with rebel groups. The station processes coffee from smallholder farmers and the coffee here is typically of the Bourbon varietal, which thrives in these high altitudes, as well as a local varietal called Rumangabo.
This is on the Eastern side of DR Congo which borders Uganda and Lake Kivu. The coffee has organic certification and is not sorted by size, but is sorted for defects.
This year's crop is exceptional. We has access to it from the Virunga Coffee Company, which is a South African group of businessmen who have gone into the DR Congo and set up a Fair Trade co-op of roughly 6000 farmers. Through investing, education, and marketing, they are bringing the best coffee in Congo to specialty roasters.
I like to roast it light, like a Costa Rica. Maybe 20-25 seconds past the end of the first cracks. I'm tasting hints of mango and papaya with a pineapple aftertaste, good body, not acidic, not earthy, honey sweetness. But you can also roast it to the verge of the 2nd cracks, and here it reminds me of a Rwanda coffee. At that roast level you taste figs, raisin, a little bit of chocolate, smooth, medium body, clean aftertaste.
Roasts darker than this lose their sweetness and fruity flavors, although are not altogether unpleasant.
This is the February 2020 arrival.