Radio Roasters Coffee Burundi Kayanza

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

With a site and branding that ooze professionalism, it’s very difficult to believe that Radio Roasters Coffee is the side-gig/”hobby” of full-time CNN employee, Chip Grabow. Crazy! Today we’re back in Burundi with Radio’s Kayanza. Links on links below and then let’s drink!

Radio Roasters Coffee

Purchase this coffee directly for $6/4oz or $16/12oz (and other sizes, too!)

Radio Roasters Coffee Colombia Finca El Placer review

Unpacking Coffee interview

Eater Atlanta story

Atlanta magazine interview

Sweet Peach photo essay

The Dieline branding story 

TNKR Design branding story


Check out the above links for the full story of how Chip Grabow went from NPR and CNN to side-gig extraordinaire with Radio Roasters Coffee. I said it in my last review of Chip’s coffee that if this is what the man can accomplish part-time with Radio it’s downright scary to think about what a force Radio Roasters Coffee would be if it had his undivided attention! Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity about Chip and Radio Roasters, let’s dive right into this coffee…

This morning’s selection is Radio Roasters Coffee’s Kayanza from Burundi. It’s a mix of Bourbon, Jackson and Mibirizi vatietals washed and processed at the Kiryama washing station. This co-op is located in Butaganzwa in the province of Kayanza, close to the northern border of the country shared with Rwanda. Over 1100 smallholder farmers contribute crops directly to Kiryama with 3350 others contribute via five collection points around the area. This is a washed coffee grown ay 1780-1850masl. Due to poverty (Congo and Burundi are tied for the lowest GDP in Africa), being landlocked, and a long history of tribal conflicts that remain unresolved today, Burundi is a challenging place for coffee exporters, but its environment makes it one of the best potential sources in Africa, which is saying a lot!

Radio Roasters gives us tasting notes of, “Sugar cane, chocolate, lavendar, tart finish” for this coffee. I used my standard pourover setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filter. Handground grinder was set to 3 and I used Third Wave Water, as always, in my preparation.

Visually, this coffee looked like a darker roast than the Colombian I had from Radio recently. It played nicely in the grinder and hit my goal 3:30-ish for total brew time. This is a medium bodied coffee with lots of sweetness and some nice tartness and acidity. I get nice lemony overtones right at the beginning of the sip that carry all the way through and into the aftertaste, which lingers for quite a while. Toward the second half of the sip there is a lavendar note… my wife uses lavendar oil on everything and so it’s a note I’m pretty familiar with! There’s a bit of roastiness in the finish and with the sweetness, lavendar and lemon candy notes in this cup, it does remind me of a high-quality chocolate in the aftertaste. This is a coffee with a lot of high end, but it’s not necessarily super acidic, either. It really hits a lot of high notes without being harsh or aggressively acidic. It gives this cup a sense of “openness” and “airiness.” It’s hard to describe… it’s not like the often aggressive acidity of a Kenyan coffee… the cup is well balanced, it’s simply that all the flavor notes are skewed toward the brighter side of things.

This is a nice cup. Super-easy drinker, beautifully balanced and with nice lemon candy tartness. The finish reminds me a little of the lemony, tart beer style of Berliner Weiss (or at least the American version like Bell’s Oarsman). It’s really good, very inviting and warming.