Wholee Bean Coffee
This coffee is named after one of the most influential soul musicians and composers of all time, Curtis Mayfield. And we saved a special coffee for it, a Single Producer Microlot from Rwanda, which is pretty rare for an origin where a lot of coffees are still blended.
In 1990, Curtis Mayfield was mounting a comeback. He'd just released the second of two 1990 albums before taking the stage for an outdoor performance on Aug. 13 at Wingate Field in Brooklyn.
As many as 10,000 people had already made their way toward the stage, even though a storm was looming. Instead of cancelling the show, they moved up the headliner, Curtis Mayfield, so he could play some hits before the storm hit. At the moment he was being introduced, a massive surge of wind surged against the outdoor stage and knocked loose a huge metal rig holding speakers and stage lights.
Stage lights came loose and began falling from above. One of them struck Mayfield in the back of the neck. He was seriously injured, along with six others.
Doctors later informed Mayfield that he'd suffered breaks in the third, fourth and fifth vertebrae in his neck. They confirmed that he would probably not be able to walk, or play guitar, again.
The composer of classic songs like "People Get Ready" and "Superfly" was just 48 years old. And while he would never play music in front of a live audience again, all his solo hits and the hits he wrote and performed with The Impressions remain musical staples to this day.
This coffee, which is so special, is in honour of Curtis Mayfield. This 5 day Natural Anaerobic bean juice, and all its fermentation goodness, make this coffee fruity and funky, and Mr. Mayfield knew all about that funk!
Natural Anaerobic coffees tend to be more unusual, sweet and "funky". And while this coffee has been fermented for a whopping 5 days in sealed, low oxygen pots, it's still so easy to drink, for both lovers of experimental coffees, and those who are newer to it!
This coffee is also a Single Producer Microlot, which is pretty rare for a Rwandan coffee where many coffees are still sold blended.
ORIGIN + VARIETY: SINGLE PRODUCER - Rwanda + Red Bourbon
TASTING NOTES: Berries + candied citrus + velvety
PRODUCER: Augustin Benda
FARM: Microlot - 4 hectares
REGION: Karufuri Village, Remera Sector, Gatsibo District, Eastern Province
ALTITUDE: 1710 masl
PROCESS: Natural Anaerobic - 5 day low oxygen whole cherry ferment in sealed clay vessels.
SIZE: 125g, 227g, 340g and 908g bags.
GRIND: whole bean, filter, espresso/moka pot, French press
More about the Natural Anaerobic processing method:
Always driven towards experimentation of Rwandese coffee, our partners in Rwanda are keen to try and perfect various processing methods.
First, a day of intensive sorting at the cherry stage, under complete shade, to ensure only the ripest are chosen and any visible defects are removed.
Step two is multiple rounds of floating - filling a large container with cherries and water, discarding the less dense cherries that float to the top of the tank. The densest coffees (sinkers) are reserved to be processed as the higher grade lots, and the less dense coffees (floaters) are mixed in with the rejected cherries from the initial sorting to be processed as lower grade lots.
It’s expected that cherries are delivered to stations, on average, between 2 to 3 hours from picking. The top quality cherries are tightly packed into sealed vessels where they are left to ferment, undisturbed and under shade, for 5 whole days! It really pushes the fermentation window without coming off too funky.
The goal in this anaerobic environment is to create a unique environment in which the cherries have very limited interaction with oxygen.
The low oxygen environment drastically change the flavours imparted into the seed. The natural anaerobic fermentation promotes high intensity and complexity of fruit flavours and sweetness in the coffee. The 5 day anaerobic fermentation results in a coffee that is more fruity and funky than most, without bordering on being TOO funky and hard to drink. You could easily drink this coffee every day, all day. We sure do!
Once this fermentation period is complete, the cherries are immediately turned out onto drying beds. The goal is for cherries to be a single layer on the beds, maximum 2 - 4 cm of depth. For the first 5 days, the coffee is turned every hour. From day 5 to day 20, coffee is turned every 2 hours. From day 20 - 50, the coffee and ambient temperature are strictly monitored to keep the rate of drying slow and controlled.
Temperature is recorded throughout the day - if it exceeds certain thresholds, workers will focus on turning coffee more frequently or cover the beds with mesh netting. In more rare cases, if the temperature exceeds extremely high thresholds, entire beds will sometimes be relocated under complete shade for a few days. This focus on extremely thin layers, coupled with frequent turning and temperature monitoring, is to ensure that the flavours remain clean and free from over-fermentation or mold defects.
When the moisture content reaches 11.0%, the drying phase is considered complete. The dried cherry is bagged and stored in a dry warehouse until time for milling. Total drying times for this coffee is between 50 - 55 days.
More about Baho Coffee (who oversees the washing stations, and directly supports the farrmers, we source from in Rwanda):
“Baho’s vision on community is guided by having a synergetic relationship with the
community of farmers that we work with, where we guide them and create solutions
in a replicable, sustainable and scalable manner leading to economic growth and
poverty reduction. Our overall vision is implied by the meaning of our name, Baho,
which in our local language means live/life. It is like a tree that grows up and has
branches, flowers and fruits and still keeps its roots in the ground. Baho is born,
grows up and sells coffee both locally and internationally and never forgets the
- Emmanuel Rusatira, Owner Baho Coffee
It's hard not to be inspired by Emmanuel's genuine curiosity and passion for quality coffee and experimentation. At a handful of his washing stations he is not only producing extremely clean natural processed coffees, but also pushing the experimental boundaries of the fermentation process (all very rare for Rwanda!).
Furthermore, Emmanuel is impressively proactive with education and outreach. He works closely with producers year round, and ensures they paid well above the national average of Rwanda, in addition to the bonuses paid to farmers in order to circumvent limits imposed by the government. We are so proud to be in business with Emmanuel and call him a friend.
- ESPRESSO: If wanting to pull this coffee as an espresso, we recommend experimentation. Try a 1:2.5 or even1:3 ratio, and grind a litter finer for a slightly longer extraction to draw our some sweetness and balance.
- POUR OVER: For a V60, we recommend grinding fine-medium for this roast, 2-3 pours (post bloom). We use a 1:15 for a real complex and velvety cup, or a 1:16/1:17 for a more rounded cup. And this coffee can take some heat off boil.
- FRENCH PRESS: We recommend the James Hoffman method for French press: 1:16.67 ratio // medium grind (not too coarse) // add water, do not stir, brew for 4 minutes // after 4 mins break crust gently, scoop everything off that floats // let sit for another 5-8 minutes // don't press all the way, only use it as a filter at the surface of the brew.
- ICED COFFEE: Perfect as a funky pour over flash freeze brew. Use large cocktail ice, lower your brewing ratios and then prepare as you usually would (with the option of adding a bit less water)! And if not wanting to add too much ice while brewing, try adding whiskey stones after brewing to not further dilute it.