Brian Beyke

Populace Coffee - Rwanda Kigeyo - Mistobox - May 2014

Brian Beyke


Populace Coffee is also no stranger to the blog.  We sat down with their Ecuador Taza Dorada #9 back in March and also visited their Sulawesi in February’s Craft box.  I was excited to have another one of Andrew’s coffees in my house, and also excited see another Rwanda Kigeyo.  I’ve been lucky enough to try some great Rwandans this year, and even previously visited Kigeyo from Tandem (whom we just talked about yesterday) around the same time as Populace’s Ecuador. 

Populace recently started a new video series called “New To Coffee“ where they invite people who have never made coffee before into their roastery to make some coffee.  Aside from being pretty funny at times, it’s awesome to see a company embrace the approach that coffee is actually pretty easy, and you don’t have to be a barista whiz to whip up a good cup.  Good beans + attention to detail = good coffee.  Let’s jump into their bag of Rwanda Kigeyo. 

Rwanda has become one of the most exciting growing regions over the last two decades.  For the country’s economy, the growth of specialty coffee practices has been closely tied with the overarching rebuilding of Rwanda post-genocide.  The country is now home to a growing number of very small farms which pool together in central washing stations for processing, and many of the coffees being produced these days are among the best in the world. We’re proud to bring in this coffee from the Kigeyo washing station in the Rutsiro district, which showcases some of the best aspects of great Rwandan coffee.

This is a special lot produced by the Kigeyo washing station in the Rutsiro District of Rwanda. The coffee cherries were harvested at 1,900 – 2,100 meters, which is exceptionally high and they are processed in a double fermentation style that is typical of Kenyan coffees.  (Read some great history on Rwanda coffee from Sweet Maria’s here.)


Roaster: Populace Coffee

Origin: Rwanda, Rutsiro District

Producer: Various Small Producers // Kigeyo Washing Station

Process: Fully washed

Varieties: Bourbon / Mayaguez

Elevation: 1,900 - 2,100m


Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:50 total time | 197 degrees | 1.35 TDS | 20.30% Ext. 

Sweet vanilla bean intro to the cup with a slightly crisp acidity and a lightly syrupy body.  Cherry pie filling seems to reside mostly in the cup, brimming with sweetness.

There is a clean finish to the cup, where some tea leaf notes reside along with some woody tones but otherwise just a crisp and snappy cup.

Notes of apple, pear, apricot, peach- even passion fruit is hinted at, with the long finish carrying grapefruit-like acidity.  The cooler it grows the sweeter it becomes with the cup growing more and more silky and juicy. Those initial vanilla notes now spread to hints of butter, marshmallow, nougat and brown sugar.

The final sips are juicy stone fruits and honey finishing.


Brew Method:

Woodneck | 29.5g © to 480g (w) | 4:20 total time | 198 degrees | 1.38 TDS | 20.80% Ext. 

Crisp intro to the cup.  Sweet and lightly syrupy with cane sugar, apple, cherry and pear notes most immediate, with hints of tea leaf in the finish.  Excellent clarity, and wonderfully balanced, with maybe a tad emphasis on sweetness.

The further you dig in the creamier and more syrupy it gets.  There is a lightly sparkling acidity full of sweet cherry notes that slide into juicy cherry pie - now meeting notes you might find in a classic Yirgacheffe profile: peach, raspberry, passion fruit, mango, and silky vanilla in the finish.  So flavorful, so whimsical and enjoyable.

The end of the cup doesn’t disappoint.  Creamy, sweet, lingering fruit and candy-like notes, end similarly to a chocolate malt.  Quite delicious.


Brew Method:

Chemex | 20g © to 320g (w) | 2:45 total time | 197 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 19.25% Ext. 

Immensely juicy with sweet cream on the back end.  Raisin, prune, crisp apple: all presented with great clarity then moving right into a sugary sweet, almost cotton candy-like, creamy backend.  Balanced and clean, medium bodied and delightful.

There are hints of wood and fig noticed in the rear as I dig further.  The sweetness now starting to become more syrupy and covering over what is now more cherry, pear, and grapple fruit notes, still crisp and quick before navigating to that creamy finish.  

The fruit, the syrupy, the candy-sweet… it all just keeps growing.  Sweeter, juicier, creamier.  The balance is growing a little out of proportion now, with an emphasis on the sweetness and all other adjectives intensified.

Creamy, cherry, Werthers.


I just love coffees like this.  Sweet and clean fruit notes with a syrupy body and lingering finishes.  This coffee was so creamy, with a nice dazzling acidity and a great medium bodied offering for someone who wants a little more heft but still those great sweet characteristics.  I remember Tandem’s offering being more snappy with more dark berry notes in the cup, but this one remained a little clearer in the fruit flavors.   When my local shop featured Populace recently I was able to try a few other selections of the lineup, so I think I’ve tried about 5 different roasts now.  I’ve loved all of Andrews coffees, always a comfortable body with an abundance of flavor and this Kigeyo is no exception.  Another excellent coffee from Populace.

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.