Rwanda | Umerage Red Bourbon
One of the best, yet most difficult parts, of owning a coffee company is deciding which green coffees to purchase. With so many amazing coffees out there, a variety of importers we trust, and the pure vast variety of options to choose from, it's a lengthy process we go through before you see it on our website.
Most recently, we decided on a Rwandan Red Bourbon single origin coffee into our lineup. For some context, 'single origin' simply means from one origin, and red bourbon is the varietal of coffee plant. I wanted to share some more information about this coffee to go into detail and even nerd out a little bit for all of those interested :)
We were first interested in this coffee because of the tasting notes from the importer and ****the fact that it is a single varietal coffee. Even more exciting than that, it is a single bourbon type varietal! (Our Aussie friends taught us that it's pronounced Burr-Bon not Bourbon - like the American spirit. Oops to all of us saying is funky.)
For any one new to coffee, almost all of the coffee that you are consuming from various specialty coffee roasters is arabica. Coffees can generally be separated in to two categories - arabica and robusta. If you are drinking anything from a specialty coffee shop, you are 99.9% drinking arabica. Within in the large umbrella that is arabica coffee, there are many sub varietals, cultivars, and hybrids that have been made, cross-bread and taken all around the world. For a more in-depth intro to what this means, I highly recommend James Hoffmans World Atlas of Coffee Book. Essentially though, like in wine, the coffee flavor can be traced back to the climate of the location it is grown, the soil type, the plant type, and so on.
Anyways, back to the varietal topic. When Marissa and I were getting into coffee we tasted so many different types from an endless amount of roasters. Every time we would try a coffee, we would sit and discuss what we loved, what we disliked, and always analyze the coffee's terroir information if the roaster provided it. The more we did that, we started to notice a common theme in a lot of coffees that we both mutually enjoyed- which generally ended up being single varietal bourbon variations. Within those variations coffee plants called pink bourbon, yellow bourbon, and red bourbon, which although they are all variations of the same coffee plant, they each offer unique tasting profiles. (Think of how you can have an apple, but different types with unique flavors like a granny smith, fuji, and so on.)
Each time we had a coffee that was majority a bourbon varietal or 100% bourbon, we noticed a clear and clean sweetness. The cups tended to have a crispness to them that we found so refreshing. So whenever we would go into support a roaster or shop and grab a bag coffee for home, we always were on the secretly on the lookout for that bourbon type varietal.
Now circling back to the Rwanda! We were able to get this coffee from a new friend named Chris that runs Cherry Bomb Coffee Traders here in Northern California. When he sent this sample over we were immediately hoping that it was going to be as good as we thought it would. We sample roasted it and cupped the next day, compared our notes like always, but more formally this time. The sample did not disappoint! It immediately tasted sugary, sweet, and clean. Our tasting notes were cane sugar, red fruit, and baked goods- reminding us of a chocolate chip cookie.
We brought this coffee on, along the the Peru Valle de Condor, and couldn't wait to get the first batches out!
Along with the coffee's delicious flavor profile, the coffee came with a pretty cool background. The coffee is washed process & 100% red bourbon (BM139 - World Coffee Research Link). It was produced by farmers around the Umerage washing Station in the Huye District of Southern Rwanda. There are about 400 farmers registered with this washing station and it is ultimately overseen by Bufcoffee
"Bufcoffee was founded in 2003 by the first woman specialty coffee producer Epiphanie MUKASHYAKA. Bufcoffee has been based in Nyamagabe District, Southern Province, Rwanda, where a high altitude and professional farmers allow it to produce splendid coffee.
Bufcoffee always cares about sustainability of its coffee and livelihood of its farmers. Those unlimited efforts have been awarded in coffee quality by Cup of Excellence several times.."
Isn't that tight! After researching the background of how this coffee came to be, it checked all of our boxes- sustainable, great transparency, and delicious! It contains classic Rwandan red apple tasting notes paired with sweet nectarine and finishing flavors of dark chocolate and cacao nibs.
We hope you enjoy this Rwandan coffee from the Umerage washing station and know that every time you purchase from us or another roaster with transparency as a focus, it continues to support the lives of farmers, producers, importers/exporters, and roasters across the globe!