Brian Beyke

Kickapoo Coffee - Sopacdi Congo Tsheya - Craft Coffee - February 2014

Brian Beyke

Prior to this month’s Craft box I honestly didn’t think there was much else about Congo besides giant gorillas guarding hidden ruins filled with precious diamonds.  The Democratic Republic of Congo just recently starting to export their coffee to the specialty buyers.  Apparently this lot was processed at the Tsheya washing station in Minova which is the only washing station that has been built in Eastern Congo for the last forty years, and comes from exclusively female producers.  Let’s explore this captivating Kickapoo Coffee offering.

Details:

Roaster: Kickapoo Coffee

Producer: Sopacdi Cooperative

Origin: South Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Varietal: Bourbon

Elevation: 1,500-2,000 mas

Process: Washed

Brew Method:

Woodneck | 30g © to 420g (w) | 4:00 total time | 201 degrees 

Dried fruits in the wet aroma along with pepperoni, lemon merengue pie, and spice.  

Initial sips are molasses with a creamy chocolate/nutty finish.  A little spice thrown in as well.  

It grows bigger as it cools, a more rounded red fruit of grape, raisin, apple, cherry and moderate orange acidity that gets brighter as it cools.

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Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 34g © to 453g (w) | 3:30 total time | 202 degrees (preferred method)

Very clean off the front.  Molasses sweetness, very mousse-like creamy body with a touch of clove spice.

Dried fruits, raisin, apple, cherry, softly sparkling acidity starts to rise up as the body grows more dense and juicy.

Nice red fruits on top and a medium body with some darker, more savory notes underlying.  

As it cools more citrusy flavors seem to emerge - orange and lemon tied with some drying in the finish.  It seems a bit nutty, but moreso buttery.  A hunt of clove spice remains in there a swell.

It ends bright, sweet, and buttery.  

Molasses, red fruits, buttery.  

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I was actually really pleased with this offering, and for more reasons than solely the profile of the coffee itself.  Kickapoo writes:

“Given the political turmoil that Eastern Congo has been experiencing over the last few years, it is somewhat of a miracle that we are able to offer such a fresh and vibrant coffee from this part of the world.

There is a wonderful organization and historical ally called Twin Trading based out of the United Kingdom who has been helping the small-holder farmers in eastern Congo organize as well as introducing them to specialty buyers such as ourselves. We are super grateful for the work the Richard Hyde and Twin Trading are doing to help support the farmers of Congo. 

The cooperative offers a premium to female members who bring their coffee in and are keeping this coffee separate. Farmers in the area have no running water or electricity, and coffee is their main cash crop. For years, they have had to smuggle their coffee across the Rwandan border in order to get a decent price for their coffee. With the success of their cooperative, these farmers now have a direct stake in the profits from their coffee as well as the opportunity to get to know who they are selling to. We are proud to be working with this organization.”

It makes me excited to see all the working elements beyond me (as the consumer) or Kickapoo (as the roaster) and see how the coffee industry helps not only make coffee production in countries like Congo more easily attainable, but also makes the livelihood of those involved more easily achieved.  

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.