So it's well established that the best coffee in Rwanda is the coffee grown along Lake Kivu, which sits a whopping 4500 feet above sea level looking down at the Rift Valley. It is the 18th deepest lake in the world, and volcanic activity beneath and around the lake make it particularly legendary.
This is a big lake. About 1000 square miles of water. There are several islands within the lake. Take a boat about an hour out into the lake, and you come to Gishamwama Island. No one lives here, but coffee grows beautifully. Pests and diseases haven't made it here yet, and the island coffee is both fair trade and organic certified. Only bourbon varietal is grown, and the coffee is shaded from the undisturbed forest surrounding it. The coffee is so highly anticipated, that the importer made a movie trailer teasing its arrival https://vimeo.com/105362622
Gishamwana coffee is the epitome of Rwandan coffee. It has the chocolate, caramel, sweet, cherry tobacco, raisin, fig, berry, and orange notes with a zippy acidity, medium body, and no earthiness. The sweet spot on this coffee is just before the 2nd cracks in order to balance the acidity with sweetness and complexity.
Darker roasts are good but you lose the raisin and caramel tastes. Lighter roasts are bright with a strong winey cherry tobacco prominence making it a little overwhelming to drink.
Unfortunately, it's expensive to bring coffee in from an island in the middle of a giant lake, but for the diehard hobbyists and aficionados of rare exquisite coffee, this is one to try. When a coffee has THIS much buildup and anticipation and pricepoint, it is hard to meet expectations -- it's almost ensuring disappointment. Keep your expectations in check, its just coffee, it's not magic wonderland beans. But with that said, it is in my top five favorite coffees in stock right now, and the story/video of where it comes from definitely adds to the romance and enjoyment of the experience. USA arrival December 2015
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