Kanzu is from the southwest area of Lake Kivu in the Nyamasheke district in Rwanda. This is one example where the beauty of the area seems to correlate to the beauty of the coffee itself. Kanzu is tucked away in a valley surrounded by mountain peaks. The physical processing of Kanzu remains fairly consistent. Coffee cherry is brought down to this station from hundreds of small farmers situated above the valley floor, or they bring the fruit to collection points Kanzu has set up in a nearby radius. Depulping of the coffee cherry is achieved using a 3-disc machine of Kenya manufacture. The coffee is then fermented for nearly 24 hours. Kanzu has long channels to remove the mucilage from the coffee and grade density, but they also break up the fruit layer by dancing around in the concrete tanks before washing the coffee: It’s a great sight, akin to the quasi-mythic stomping of the grapes. After soaking for 12 hours, the coffee is laid out to dry on raised beds for air- and sun-drying. Much of this coffee is grown at altitudes of 1900-2000+ meters, which works well for the Bourbon variety coffee.
This year’s Kanzu has complex layers of fruited sweetness and dark caramelized sugars. The Drip Coffee dry fragrance has light brown sugar sweetness, with apple butter and a pineapple accent. Pouring hot water brings up an attractive mix of fresh caramel and baking spice notes, clean fruit smells coming up in the steam. Breaking the crust reveals a plum and cardamom spice mixture. There is a refined fruit and sugar flavor in Drip roasts, like marzipan and raisin, along with hints of dark Concord grape. Stone fruit flavors are at the forefront of the cooling cup, with an impressively sweet finish (the density of honey), and highlighted by hints of dry spice. For Espresso (Full City+) roasts produce more of a layered chocolate-torte flavor profile, as well as dark fleshy fruit flavors. This coffee maintains its structure at Espresso roast levels ( we stay away from 2nd crack) with the oils just below the surface. Kanzu is such a sweet cup of coffee, and “complete” in terms of aromatics, sweetness, acidity, and mouthfeel. Kanzu is also a great candidate for single origin espresso.