Kanzu 2021

Kanzu 2021

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    On the nose, this latest Kanzu selection presents classic, warming aromatics of baking spices, molasses, and dried apricot. Pleasantly sweet flavors of stone fruit and raw honey unfold in a cup that is balanced by a structured citric acidity and complex black tea qualities on the aftertaste.

    Ideal coffee producing conditions, heirloom Bourbon plant genetics, and a meticulously managed washing station all contribute to yet another beautiful coffee from Kanzu. This latest selection, composed of coffee delivered and processed approximately 16 weeks into the 2021 harvest, offers a bright and intricately layered representation of this celebrated Rwandan producing region.

    The name Kanzu 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.

    At Kanzu, each individually numbered “lot” is composed of the coffee from approximately one week’s pickings of coffee cherries, delivered to the station by local farmers during the harvest. Each lot ultimately amounts to about 45 bags (60 kg. each) of exportable green coffee. During peak harvest, a lot might represent 3-4 days of cherry deliveries; during the beginning and the end of harvest, the time frame might stretch closer to 7-10 days. So, the lot numbers in this context indicate the relative point of the annual harvest timeline that a particular lot represents. In a standard year, the total number of lots produced at Kanzu tends to be around 20. Passenger’s latest selection is a portion of Lot #16 - indicating that it is composed of coffee delivered and processed approximately 16 weeks into the 2021 harvest.

    This lot underwent traditional wet processing at Kanzu: ripe coffee cherry was passed through a disc pulping machine, at which point the seeds were fermented for approximately 24 hours. Following fermentation, the coffee was washed in long channels, soaked once more overnight, and finally spread out to dry on raised beds. The finished result is a crystalline representation of Rwandan terroir and heirloom Bourbon plant genetics.

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