Tumba has been a coffee on my radar for years. When I first tasted it, the sweetness and bright acidic snap in the cup made a great impression. But at the time I noticed varied quality from one cup to the next, and a lack of consistency can mean problems in the processing. For a coffee buyer, it signifies that what you taste now might not be what you get upon importation. The backstory at the time was Tumba Station was a private processing wet mill that had 2 owners with very different ideas of quality and how to run a mill. Fast forward 5 years, and we found ourselves purchasing Tumba for the first time under a different light. A local teacher in the Tumba area for which the mill is named, had taken over all aspects, and the coffee was consistent in every cup … and amazingly good! Venustre Mugraneza, the teacher, is esteemed in the local community and has been systematically improving the mill. The best coffee cherries (those that make up this lot) are dried in a special area of raised beds and receive focused handpicking by the farmers. Tumba is situated at 1825 meters in the Rulindo district, where we also source our excellent Cocatu Cooperative lots.
The dry fragrance is aced with raw sugary sweetness, a note of white cake frosting, and fruit accents are slight. A deep sweetness blossoms in the wet aroma and comes off like a mix of sugars browning in a pan, along with a smell dried fig. While the fragrance and aroma have delicate aspects to them, the brewed coffee is much more substantial. The sweetness is marked by more of the torched sugar aspects all along the recommended roast range and light to middle roasts are fruited with accents of dark currant, red berry, and tamarind hard candy (OK, tamarind is technically a legume, I think). The finish at City and City+ displays accents of baking spice notes along with a black tea note that lends to a tannin acidic impression too. Tumba’s sweetness holds up to darker roast levels too, producing delicious dark chocolate roast flavors, with cinnamon stick, dried date, and some spiced cocoa in the finish. Full City roasts make a sweet, and chocolate-laden espresso shot too, heavy body like soy milk, and a fruit/spice flavor note note that reminds me of Dr. Pepper soda.