Ironclad Coffee Roasters Congo Idjwi Island

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

Ironclad Coffee Roasters from Richmond, Virginia have sent me another awesome coffee from the Congo. I’ve only had two (both this month!) and both were stellar, so let’s check out this Idjwi Island coffee from Ironclad!

Ironclad Coffee Roasters

Buy this coffee for $14/12oz

Excellent and thorough Daily Coffee News article

Photos from RVA News

Good Grounds

UVA Today article on Good Grounds’ work in Congo podcast conversation with Ryan O’Rourke


Ironclad Coffee Roasters is a relatively new specialty roasting company based in Richmond, VA. We hooked up through Instagram and they sent me a couple of their current selections and I had absolutely no idea what to expect, which is something I love as a coffee reviewer! They’ve done a good job with their PR because I discovered a ton of info about Ironclad as I did my research, with the most pertinent links provided for in the section above. Ironclad opened as a roastery and retail space in Richmond around February 2016 with goals of adding a tasting room or some cafe services as zoning, finances, etc allow. The company was started by Ryan O’Rourke and his wife, Kelly, and the idea came to them while they were living in Ireland, which they found to be a decidedly tea-drinking country. Ryan’s mom and dad had roots in the coffee business, too, so it’s probably in his genes. Desperate for a cup of good, specialty grade coffee, when the duo returned moved to Virginia they hit the ground running and had their roasting company open for business within six months! Check out the Daily Coffee News article linked above for the whole origin story (haha, get it?) on Ironclad!

Today’s coffee is Ironclad’s Congo Idjwi Island. This coffee is sourced by Good Grounds with an initiative to rebuild this war-torn nation into one of peace and prosperity through agricultural ventures like coffee farming. The UVA Today article linked above goes into a lot more detail, so check that out. Spoiler alert… the only two Congolese coffees I’ve drunk were this month and I have absolutely loved them both!

I used my standard preparation method for my cups of this coffee… notNeutral Gino dripper… 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water… Third Wave Water… Handground grinder set to 3… Ironclad gives us flavor notes of, “blood orange, cocoa powder, hazelnut” for this coffee. Sounds pretty darn good, so let’s dive in!

A lot of orange notes definitely come out in this coffee. I can’t say the last time I had a blood orange, but there is a lot of orange charcter in both the acidity and sweetness of this cup. My cup has a medium to medium-heavy body with a syrupy mouthfeel. The citrusy, orange acidity comes in right up front and sort of builds and cascades through the sip into a finish that is darn near like sipping a glass of orange juice! These orange notes add a lot of high-end to this coffee, but it’s well balanced with the inherent sweetness of the cup and the sugariness also found in an orange. If you’ve ever wondered, “What does an ‘orange note’ taste like in coffee?” then this is the one you should use to calibrate your palate. There is some light nuttiness in the cup, too, as well as a chocolate finish and aftertaste. I find this to be a clean coffee that is super drinkable and I think it would accompany food really well. It’s not super complex, and that’s OK. What it does have tons of, orange, nuttiness, sweetness and balance, it does very well, which is all I can ask for! This is just a nice, sweet, easygoing, easy-drinking coffee.

Interestingly, I’ve only had two coffees from Congo in my time, both this month! The other was Kickapoo’s Muungano, which I found to be loaded with blackberry notes and quite complex. I absolutely loved that coffee as well as this Idjwi Island from Ironclad and I am officially a Congohead, now! Give me more!