Rwanda Kanzu

Aromatics: Candied pear, Floral
Acidity: Citric
Sweetness: Honeyed
Producer: Various
Altitude: 1,950 masl
Varieties: Bourbon

We are once again excited to offer a beautiful bourbon cultivar from the Kanzu washing station in Rwanda!

Kanzu washing station sits at 1,950 meters in Nyamasheke, located in Southwestern Rwanda. The coffee grows in rich volcanic soil on rolling, steep hills that tower over the station reaching up to 2,200 meters. Producers with small lots from the hillsides above, bring their ripe fruit to the station below. The soil, high elevations, and cool climate are perfect for producing ripe, dense fruit. The washing station has invested resources into an improved infrastructure, training farmers on the best agronomic practices, and improving quality which shines through in the cup season after season.

This year, Kanzu has lovely candied pear and floral aromatics, with currant, sweet hibiscus and a persistent honeyed sweetness in the cup.

The Potato Defect

The potato defect has been found as a natural occurrence in certain East and Central African Great Lakes coffees, most notably found in Rwanda and Burundi.

The defect has nothing to do with the tubular root vegetable; it is named this way because coffees containing the defect taste and smell quite a bit like raw potatoes. This is caused by a particular member of the chemical family of pyrazines, commonly produced by plants naturally. Some pyrazines found in vegetables like green peppers are responsible for similar flavors in wine, for example.

Each year, we revisit question of whether we should offer coffees from Rwanda (or Burundi). Despite the continuous improvement of processing techniques, we have yet to find a coffee from this region that is 100% free of the potato defect.  We sell them knowing that occasionally one or more of our customers are going to run into a spud or two.

But each year, we, along with our Green Buyer Andy Sprenger, conclude that we should remain committed to supporting, in our small way, the growing specialty coffee industry in these two countries – countries that really need the economic boost that specialty coffee can bring. Our hope is that one day soon the defect will be eliminated.   This sourcing also supports our core belief that we should, as much as we can, be buying, roasting, and brewing coffees when they are in season.

The good news is, improved processing continues to decrease the frequency of potato. The Kanzu processing station in particular is meticulous in their efforts to avoid the defect and we’ve certainly been impressed with the many lots we’ve looked at recently from this station. The lot you will soon be drinking has shown no hints of potato thus far!

So our decision to select this coffee for Superlatives is a commitment on our part to continue supporting producers from Rwanda! They are special, beautiful coffees with massive potential and a bright future.

About Cupping Room Coffee Roasters

Cupping Room was founded in 2011 in by Kapo Chiu, three-time Hong Kong Barista Champion.  From the beginning, our focus was to bring carefully roasted and prepared coffee to Hong Kongers in a comfortable environment.  Between 2012 and 2015, our company grew from a single shop to three busy locations across the financial centre of Hong Kong Island.  Finally, we welcomed our Roastery and coffee bar at Po Hing Fong in 2016 and have been roasting coffee since then on a Probat UG15 Retro roaster.

We seek out coffees in season, from regions across the world.  We work with our green buyer, Andy Sprenger, to identify the top quality lots that reflect the characteristics of coffee that we love: sweetness, aroma, and flavour character that reflects variety and careful processing.  We strive to buy, roast, and serve coffees that are in season throughout the year, which means that our coffee offerings change frequently. As much as we can, we build upon our relationships with growers across multiple harvest times, which means that, while a particular favourite may not be on our shelves for very long, it’s quite likely that you will find it on our shelves again in a year’s time.

Besides our single origin and seasonal blend offerings, we also seek out rare and exciting lots of coffee that comprise our Competition Selections.  These coffees reflect the innovation and potential of specialty coffee, and we are as keen to share these with our customers as we are to present them on a competition stage.

Our artisan craft is made better with proven vintage German engineering.  We use a Probat UG15 Retro, which pays homage to the most iconic roasters of the 1950s. In skilled hands, the UG15 consistently delivers a signature roast style that fully accentuates each coffee’s sweetness and aroma.