I came across Presta Coffee Roasters through Instagram, probably through the photography of my desert-dwelling pal, Bryan Schiele (if you like coffee and you like photography, you’ll like Bryan!), and I was lucky enough to score a few bags of samples to write about. Today’s review of their Rwandan coffee, Kanzu Lot #13, is the first one. I don’t see that Presta’s website is set up for online sales
so I’m not 100% how and where you can get this coffee, but I will update this post as soon as I find out.Update: Presta is opening a shop as well as rolling out their online store at the end of April!
This coffee comes from Kanzu, a coffee washing station in Rwanda near Lake Kivu. It’s worth jumping over to this link to see some gorgeous photos of the area. The Kanzu washing station began processing coffee in 2006 and Kivu region coffee is looked forward to every season by roasters. Kanzu handles coffee from hundreds of small farmers situated in the mountains that surround Lake Kivu and most of what is grown there is the Bourbon varietal. Most of it grows at close to 2000masl, too.
I brewed this coffee both as Gino pourovers and in my AeroPress. It was nice and fresh because it puffed up really big and had a very long bloom time of over a minute when I used the Gino! This is a really light and subtle coffee in the spirit of washed Ethiopians, although I’d say it’s even lighter and has a little bit less of the lemony acidity I find in the Ethiopians. A little sweeter and a bit less tea-like than the coffee from their neighbors to the northeast.
This Kanzu lot has very light body and very little aftertaste to speak of. It drops off the palate very quickly. I found it to be borderline watery at a 15:1 ratio in the pourover, so I am going to try extracting it at an even lower ratio and see what happens. The ultra-light body is pretty much my only criticism of what is an otherwise nice coffee.
There is a generous “stone-fruit” flavor in this cup, leaning more toward apricot than peach for me because it is accompanied by some tartness, which I associate with apricots (particularly dried ones). As the cup cooled the apricot flavor remained and I got flashes of floral notes on my palate, too.
This coffee opens up a lot as it cools, but I also get a tiny bit of earthiness in the cooling cup, which doesn’t bother me in this coffee but might come off a bit funky to some drinkers. That being said, I didn’t notice this until the cup was almost room temperature.
In the AeroPress I used 17g of coffee to 240g of water with a full immersion, inverted method. Total brew time was a bit longer than usual for me at 3:00 because I was using my Able DISK and the press took a lot longer than with a paper filter. The overall character of the Kanzu Lot #13 was the same but I felt like the apricot sweetness was enhanced and there was a bit more body with the coffee prepared this way, so this is a good one for AeroPressers!
All in all I was happy with this coffee from Presta. The seeds look consistently roasted and except for the almost too-light body, this is a nice cup. It’s also a nice alternative to lightly roasted washed Ethiopian coffees which, to me, sometimes taste more like a cup of black tea with a squeeze of lemon than they do coffee. Now I’m excited to break into my other two bags of Presta coffee!