Fresh Coffee from Rwanda and El Salvador
Summer is finally here, and with perfect timing to pair with the tropical bright flavours of our next two exciting coffee releases.
COPROCA - RWANDA WASHED
It may sound like a high-concept action flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger from the 80s (think Kindergarten Cop with mullets and electric guitars), but it will be the incredible flavours of this coffee in the cup that you'll remember rather than my poor quality riffs on its name.
The eponymous wet mill, situated in the Nyamasheke District of Rwanda, sits at a heady 1835m above sea level in a local area that benefits from fertile volcanic soil. The brainchild of Marie José Kankera, the cooperative was formed in 2005 and has steadily grown until in 2016 they processed 497,584 kilos of cherry. This is a result of ongoing training programmes in good agricultural practices aimed at farmers since 2013.
This fully washed red bourbon from the cooperative is carefully processed over a period of several days. Coffee is hand sorted and floated before pulping, which is undertaken within 8 hours of the coffee's being picked. The parchment undergoes dry fermentation for 12-18 hours before the remaining mucilage is washed off, followed by soaking which typically takes 18-20 hours. Drying of the bean is then conducted on raised beds.
All this work adds up to a washed coffee that seems more akin to the bold juiciness of a natural coffee when brewed. A citric flavour of lime and bergamot predominates, but this is a full-bodied acidity not often found rounded off with a big floral note on the nose and palate.
SANTA JULIA - EL SALVADOR WASHED
Finca Santa Julia is located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. The coffee-growing region benefits from its proximity to Ilamatepec volcano as far as soil quality is concerned, though its erupting as recently as 2005 after a century of silence is naturally a worry for locals.
The estate is owned by Alfred Alvarez but its the guiding hand of Emilio Lopez of Cuatro M fame that has elevated their coffee programme into the big leagues, including the estate being awarded the Cup of Excellence in 2004 and 2005. Emilio is known for his experimentation in coffee processing to find the best methods for each bean he works with, and such dedication invariably shows through in the cup.
The cherries are washed and pulped soon after harvest. The parchment is then submerged for 16-24 hours until the mucilage breaks down and the beans can be rinsed. The beans are then dried for 7 to 10 days on sun terraces.
The result is a coffee that again has a citric acidity albeit a crisper lemon flavour when compared to Coproca's more pronounced fruitiness. This brightness is complimented by a smooth caramel flavour that really sweetens the brew, making for a classic clean washed coffee with the characteristic sweetness Santa Julia has become renowned for.