Alex Brews Rwanda Gitesi

by Georgia Folker April 12, 2022 4 min read

 
The Good Coffee Doing Good Rwanda Gitesi is this fortnight's (rather special) Fresh Crop coffee feature. Alex from Padre Coffee HQ shares his recipes for both cold drip and espresso below for this fortnight's Fresh Crop Exclusive!

I have a confession to make. This is one of my first experiences tasting a Rwandan coffee. I know… as someone who works in specialty coffee, this is a heresy. But, let me redeem myself and tell you the story of Rwanda Gitesi.

My introduction to the specialty coffee world began with a cupping session of Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees. Since then, I’ve associated high-quality, flavourful, and complex flavour profiles with Ethiopian or Kenyan coffees and kind of put the rest of the coffee-producing countries to the back of my mind.

And let me tell you how wrong I was.


 
Rwanda is one of the most prominent coffee-producing countries in the world. The coffee plant was first introduced to the country in 1904 and gained prominence in 1917. Since then, coffee has played a crucial role in Rwandan society. It swiftly became one of Rwanda’s most valuable exports, helping the country get back on its feet following the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It’s not an exaggeration to say Rwandan coffee is a symbol of hope that helps unite the country.

Our Rwanda Gitesi carries the same spirit. As a part of our Good Coffee Doing Good program, we’ve had the chance to make a positive impact on Rwandan communities through our partnership with Bureaux Coffee and The Gitesi Project. In fact, for every 250g of Rwanda Gitesi coffee sold, Padre Coffee will donate $3 to the project. Ah-mah-zing!

The Gitesi Project was founded in 2015 by Tim Williams (Bureaux Coffee) and Aime Gahizi (owner of Gitesi Washing Station). The project places dairy cows into farming households in Rwanda and provides health insurance for the farmers in the community.

This cow-giving practice is called Girinka Program and I suggest you read more about this fascinating tradition here. The goal of The Gitesi Project is to provide better financial stability and health outcomes for coffee-farming households in the Karongi region of Rwanda.

Gitesi Washing Station itself has been actively making positive contributions to the surrounding community. Aime and his father, Alexis, are committed to improving the livelihoods of their farmers. Their washing station runs a unique bonus payment system that sees a secondary payment going out to farmers when the finished coffee sells at a good price. Gitesi’s staff and workers are also highly trained, putting high-quality standards and meticulous care into their production.

All of this history, culture, and care accumulate in a special cup of coffee.

When tasting the coffee, the first thing that hit me was the bright orange acidity, quickly followed by sweet caramel and chocolate notes. The cup finishes with a pleasant bitterness and dryness that reminds me of black tea, which leaves you wanting more!

As a milk coffee, it’s lush and creamy. The milk brings out the caramel and chocolate notes even more and you get a subtle hit of sweet spice (I personally feel a strong cinnamon vibe). It’s a warming and delightful cup, perfect to welcome the chilly Melbourne autumn season!


 
However, for this occasion, I chose to use the cold drip brewing method. It’s a deceptively simple process that is ideal to make a light, bright, and flavourful brew.

This method also produces a substantial amount of coffee concentrate that you can save in your fridge for up to two weeks! Just mix it with water or milk (or even sweet cream), and you’ll get yourself a killer cup of coffee in no time.

Also, the DripLab tower is super theatrical, and who doesn’t love a bit of drama on their kitchen counter?



COLD DRIP EQUIPMENT

  • 60g of Rwanda Gitesi coffee, filter roast, and medium grind
  • 1 x DripLab Cold Drip System 500ml (10 Cup)
  • 1 x Round paper filter
  • 1 x Felt rectangle filter (or metal mesh filter for the Hario and the Bruer systems)
  • 1 x Scale
  • 500ml of filtered, room temperature water

FILTER RECIPE

  • Ratio: 1:8
  • Dose: 60g
  • Yield: 500g
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Temperature: room temperature (approximately 20-22 degrees Celsius)

METHOD

Weigh and ground 60g of Rwanda Gitesi coffee and set it aside.

Fill out your water jug with 500ml of filtered room temperature water.

Remove the coffee chamber from the stand. Fold and roll the felt rectangle paper filter, then insert it into the bottom of the coffee chamber. This filter keeps the coffee grinds out of the brew.

Now you’re ready to go!

Fill the coffee chamber with your coffee. Lightly tap the chamber to level out the coffee bed.

Place the paper filter on top of the coffee ground. Press lightly around the edges, try to create a slight dome. This will help the water disperse through the entire coffee bed. Place the coffee chamber back in position.



Pour your 500ml of water into the water chamber. Run the tap until the water fully saturates the coffee grounds - this should take about 1-2 mins. Turn off the tap and leave for 15 mins - this is called a bloom.



After 15 mins, carefully set the drip rate to 1 drip every 2-3 seconds and let the rest of the water drip through.

The brew should take approximately 6-8 hours to complete. So, go and binge some Netflix (I recommend Inventing Anna, Bling Empire, or The Dropout).

Once the brew is finished, keep it in the refrigerator. The resulting brew is a concentrate that should last for about two weeks. I recommend finishing it as soon as possible to avoid the flavours deteriorating.

Dilute the concentrate with water or milk in a 1:2 ratio. You can also drink it straight if you want to experience the full flavour (and caffeine) bomb in your mouth!

 

ESPRESSO RECIPE

Domestic espresso recipe (using a Breville Bambino)

  • Dose: 22g
  • Yield: 36g
  • Time: 30secs
  • Ratio: 1:1.6

On the Slayer LP we use 22g of coffee and aim for a yield of 36g, however your machine and set up will determine what dose (and therefore, yield) you should aim for. Some domestic machines have 20-22g baskets, however some will only be able to hold 16-18g. Use the ratio to adjust the espresso recipe.

 

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