Rwanda #2: Kigoma Short Contact

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Rwanda #2: Kigoma Short Contact

15.00

This is our first purchase from Samuel Muhirwa and Bufcafe and part of a series processed exclusively for Phoenix by Lucia Solis to demonstrate the flavor impacts of coffee fermentation.

This lot, Rwanda #2 Kigoma, is an example of the flavor impact of shorter contact times during controlled fermentations. Rwanda #1 is a contrast lot, long contact, and #3 is an example without fermentation that was mechanically demucilaged).

Bourbon coffee grown in the Kigoma Sector between 1600-1800 MASL using organic methods; handpicked and sorted for ripeness; floated; pulped and floated; fermented underwater using selected yeast for 36 hours; washed; and dried in partial shade on raised beds for 16 days.

What we taste: Raisin, brown sugar, white grapefruit

Net weight 12 ounces

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COFFEE PROCESSING SERIES:

RWANDA

As we discuss in our 2018 Transparency Report, Phoenix Coffee collaborates with many of our partner producers on how the coffee we buy is processed. In this series, we demonstrate how changing just one variable during coffee processing—fermentation—can impact flavor.

“Processing” refers to the preparation of coffee from a fresh fruit to a dried seed for export and roasting. For this series, we focused on “wet” methods of processing—where the fruit is pulped, separating the skin from the seed prior to drying. How this is done impacts the coffee’s flavor.

This series was processed exclusively for Phoenix by processing expert Lucia Solis in partnership with Bufcafe, our exporter in Rwanda.

Why is coffee fermented?

Coffee seeds are surrounded by a sticky layer called mucilage composed primarily of pectin, which cannot be removed using water alone. Though coffee can be dried with the mucilage still attached, the risk of spoilage and inconsistency is higher. As a result, spontaneous fermentation, which breaks down the mucilage, has traditionally been used to isolate the seed for drying. Mucilage removal can also be performed without fermentation by using friction. Fermentation, however, increases the body, acidity and complexity of coffee through its breakdown of of starches and production of secondary metabolites—acids, aromatics and other flavor precursors—that can be unlocked during the roasting process.

Rwanda #1: Kigoma

Long fermentation

For the producers we work with in a hands-on capacity, this is Phoenix’s standard processing preparation and thus is the version of the three we will feature the longest. The pulped coffee cherry was submerged in clean water, inoculated with a selected strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae, fermented for 36 hours, and then washed and dried on raised beds. As a result of a longer fermentation time, this coffee develops rounder structure, more vibrant acidity and a juicier finish.

Rwanda #2: Kigoma

Short fermentation

We used the same selected strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae but fermented for less time—24 hours—to achieve a more standard or expected profile for this particular coffee (high grown Bourbon coffee from Rwanda). As a result of the shorter fermentation, this coffee didn’t get a chance to develop the richer, more complex characteristics of #1 but ends up with high clarity, sweetness and soft, citric and cola-like acidity.

Rwanda #3: Ubumwe

No fermentation

This is the “base” coffee of the three—if you compare this lot with #1 or #2 you’ll taste the flavors and textures imparted by fermentation. The cherry in this lot was passed through a machine that mechanically removes the mucilage, meaning that there is no impact of fermentation on the flavor. This gives you a look at the raw material—the seed—which shines a light on the agronomic conditions there, the cultivar, the picking and cherry selection, and drying practices.