Let’s get through this hump day with another coffee from The Barn! This morning I’m taking a look at one of their Rwandan coffees, Huye Mountain. I can’t wait to get into this coffee, so let’s go!
THE BARN HUYE MOUNTAIN
The Barn, located in Berlin, Germany, is one of Germany’s great roasters and, in fact, their reputation extends throughout Europe and is a pretty recognized name all over the world, really. The press loves The Barn for it’s policies like no WiFi, no baby strollers, etc, but the real story of The Barn’s coffee is excellent sourcing and roasting and top service in their cafes. I’ve Instastalked The Barn for years, so when Pia contacted me to ask if I’d like to try some of their coffee I tried to play it cool, but I did lose a little sleep like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning! The first coffee I tried from The Barn was their La Montaña from Colombia and it was one of the best Colombian coffees I’ve ever reviewed and I’ve had a lot of really great ones, so that should tell you something!
This morning I’m having a look at their Huye Mountain, one of two current offerings from Rwanda. This is a washed Red Bourbon variety grown around 1700-2200 meters above sea level by David Rubanz Angabo. David set up his own washing station in the Huye Mountain region and has identified six distinct regions around the mountain with coffees all having their own flavor profile! Pretty amazing, really! The Barn tells us this particular coffee, “is a very balanced coffee with notes of milk chocolate, blood orange, nutmeg and raisins.” Yum! This coffee gets The Barn’s “espresso roast” profile, which is presumably a bit darker and more developed than their “filter roast” like the La Montaña I had. These 35-ish gram sample packets make dialing in espresso an impossibility, so despite the “espresso roast” I’m drinking my coffee using my standard pourover setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of Third Wave Water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filter. I’m using a Knock Aergrind grinder and this brew took 4:00 to extract including a 30-second bloom, so these dense beans slowed things down a little bit.
Like the La Montaña, this Huye Mountain just bursts with flavor in the first sip. Blood orange is the first thing that hits my palate and it’s instantly recognizable… it’s juicy and bold and sweet but also has a hint of bitter orange peel that adds complexity and balance in a lovely way. Underneath that big orange juiciness is a sweet honey-like base with just the lightest hint of roast and a warming spice (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon… things you’d bake with) undertone. This coffee has a medium body and a slightly dry finish with a somewhat tea-like mouthfeel on my palate in the aftertaste. Those spicy notes and blood orange lingers for a long time in the aftertaste. As I drink this coffee it reminds me a lot of a blood orange herbal tea/tisane that I used to drink regularly from Harney & Sons.
This is a really beautiful coffee. It’s really unlike anything I’ve had from Africa. It’s bold and very forward in the presentation of its flavors, primarily that wonderful blood orange, but the slight bitter orange peel hints and those baking spices, with hints of cocoa and dark chocolate in the finish and aftertaste, really transform this coffee into something special. It is so good… I wondered if I ruined myself on that La Montaña because it was SO outrageiously good that The Barn wouldn’t be able to live up to that expectation with these other coffees they sent me, but no worries about that, now. What a fantastic coffee this Huye Mountain is! Even with the significant complexity in this cup, this coffee has great balance and is a very easy drinker. Too easy, really, because that juiciness in the blood orange really encourages larger and more frequent sips and I find myself at the end of my cup, and the end of my sample packet, all too quickly! I know The Barn ships internationally regularly, but people of Berlin, you have a jewel in your city and if I lived in Berlin, I think The Barn would be a daily stop for me!