We’re back in Africa this morning with Agape Roasting and their fresh offering from Burundi. Their washed Yirgachgeffe (link below) was awesome and coffee from Burundi has a knack for hitting my palate the right way, so I’m excited to dig into this one, too! Let’s slurp!
AGAPE ROASTING BURUNDI MUYINGA KAVUGANGOMA
Agape Roasting is a small operation started and run by Brad and Jen Baltz in Denver, Colorado. Agape gives 100% of their profits, after paying off their costs, to charity, which is insanely great! Read the Daily Coffee News interview I linked above to get the full story about Agape Roasting and check out the list of great charities Brad and Jen have been able to support. Coffee has always been a popular vehicle to raise money for charity, but all too often the coffee itself falls flat, so the #1 criteria for charity coffee, for me, is that the coffee itself is as good as it can be. Agape impressed the heck out of me with their Yirgacheffe (link to the review above), so I have high expectations for this coffee, too!
This morning’s coffee is Agape Roasting’s Muyinga Kavugangoma from Burundi. Kavugangoma is the name of a washing station (and a hill… and lots of stuff in Burundi is named after hills!) in Burundi’s Muyinga province. Kavugangoma means, “sound of the drums” and this station serves over 2,000 smallholder farmers. Like many places in Africa, but particularly true in Burundi, coffee farms are tiny, so cooperatives of farmers collecting their coffee at washing stations is a vital part of the industry. In Burundi, most farms are so small that the coffee trade is essentially supported by people growing coffee in their yards! The coffee in this area grows around 1700 meters above sea level, it’s all Bourbon variety and it is washed and carefully hand sorted to provide a product that has put Burundi on the map as a top African producer in recent years.
Agape Roasting gives us tasting notes of, “Sweet peach, oolong tea, toasted almond and caramel” for this coffee. I am using my usual pourover method of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Third Wave Water and a Handground grinder set to 3. As my coffee was brewing I was getting nice caramel notes from the brew bed, even. Yum!
My cup has a medium body but the mouthfeel of the first few sips is almost electric, giving this coffee a bigger presence on my palate! This coffee really spreads across my palate and has an almost “zinging” acidity and brightness to it that I love. It’s not harsh or really “acidic” in the way most people use the word, but the bright notes of this cup spread out like oil on the surface of water and seem to almost “zap” or electrify my palate. This high note that is so awesome in this coffee is part apricot (there’s a peachy/stone fruit sweetness and vibe, but also a bit of tartness here and to me, that always reads more of apricot) as well as citrus, but I’m having trouble pinning that down. It’s a little tangerine, a little lemon candy, and of course, that apricot note that really dominates it. I’m even getting a green grape vibe from this dominant fruity part of this coffee.
That high end of the coffee is really the main event in this cup, but along with it comes the sweetness from all those fruits and some balance from that caramel note I caught in the brew aroma, too. To me, this coffee is all about the high notes and the balance of the cup is quite strongly leaned in favor of those bright notes, but at the same time, this is not what I would call an “acidic” coffee. It’s hard to explain. It’s bright, but round and soft and inviting at the same time. This is definitely not a balanced teeter-totter of sweet and acid, but the coffee just doesn’t come off as “too” bright or “too” acidic to me. It’s perfect the way it is! There is a bit of a tea-like presence in this coffee, too, more so in the finish and especially the aftertaste. With bigger, more frequent sips I felt like there was a bitterness along with that tea note that seemed to climb, so if you start to pick up on more bitter notes than you like, make your sips smaller and space them out more and I found that tempered that note quite a bit. As the cup cooled and my palate became a little more attenuated to that crashing cymbal of brightness in the early sip I think the coffee overall did take on more balance between sweetness and acidity, but that first cup was just insanely great to me!
This is a stellar coffee! Wow! What more can I say? This one is a two-fer, too, because the people of Burundi really rely on coffee exportation for their liveliehoods and this coffee also goes to support the Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association, so it’s an easy buy. Get it!