Ideal coffee producing conditions, heirloom Bourbon plant genetics, and a meticulously managed washing station combine to great effect, leading to yet another beautiful coffee from Kanzu.
On the nose, the 2019 Kanzu presents classic, warming aromatics of baking spices, molasses, and dried fruit. Pleasantly sweet flavors of apricot and raw honey unfold in a cup that is balanced by a structured citric acidity and complex black tea qualities on the aftertaste.
This is the 5th consecutive year that Passenger has purchased a selection from the Kanzu washing station, located on the shores of Lake Kivu in southwestern Rwanda. This particular lot, carefully preserved in our frozen archive since its arrival, is from last year’s harvest.
The name Kanzu, as a quick tour of specialty roasters’ menus in late autumn and winter will invariably confirm, has become virtually synonymous with high quality coffee from Rwanda thanks to the success that this washing station has achieved in recent years. This was not always the case. As recently as 10 years ago, the coffees from Kanzu were frustratingly inconsistent: sometimes unbelievably good, sometimes quite disappointing. A positive development from the quality consistency standpoint occurred in 2012 when the washing station was purchased by C. Dorman of Nairobi, a storied name in East African coffee. Since the change in ownership, Kanzu has produced excellent coffees year after year, solidifying its reputation as the perennial source of some of the finest coffees in Rwanda.
The Kanzu station receives ripe coffee cherry daily during the harvest season (lots are generally numbered according to their date of delivery). The coffee is pulped using disc pulpers after which it is fermented for upwards of 24 hours. After fermentation, the coffee is washed in long channels, soaked once more overnight, and finally spread out to dry on raised beds. The result is a crystalline representation of Rwandan terroir and heirloom Bourbon plant genetics.