Discourse & Dissent: Contrasting Coffees Box Set
Discourse & Dissent: Contrasting Coffees Box Set

Discourse & Dissent: Contrasting Coffees Box Set

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Discourse & Dissent is a Box Set series of two rotating coffees from different areas of the tasting spectrum. Our third set of the series features two differently roasted blends. We are offering a side by side tasting experience of our darkest blend and our lightest blend. 
We launched the Discourse & Dissent box as an opportunity for us all to consider freedom, freedom to and freedom from. We live in a time when the basic freedoms that are supposed to be guaranteed to all are being tested, called out for their deep, historical, and present-day shortcomings, false uses, and manipulations. At the same time, many in our society are using the freedoms that we do have to push and drive our representatives and society as a whole to become more equal. We are proud of freedoms that we do have, yet know how flawed they are and that it is our duty to create and insist upon the opportunity for freedom for every single person in our society. 

Discourse and dissent have played key roles in the foundations and building of the better parts of our society since our inception. Discourse and dissent drive us forward, closer to freedom, practices that our nation is founded upon, and that we need to cultivate as norms in our society, knowing they are basic elements of patriotism.

In this round, we get to explore processing: Natural vs Washed
Have you ever gone to take a sip of a coffee and the fruity flavors shock your taste buds and make you question if you just drank coffee, tea, or juice? This is a common experience when you drink a natural coffee for the first time. This set will let you explore what happens to a coffee that is the same variety, Red Bourbon, from the same land, processed as a Natural and as a Washed coffee. 

We are so excited to be able to offer these two differently processed coffees from the women of the Fugi Processing Station in Ngoma Sector, Nyaruguru District, Southern Province, Rwanda. 

Processing
The initial steps for each process are the same: 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.

Natural:
The following morning, coffee cherries are spread out onto raised beds to begin the drying process. The natural processed Ikizere lot was dried in a brand new parabolic drying structure that was built at Fugi earlier in the 2020 season. Within this greenhouse, coffees are completely protected from rain and harsh, direct sunlight.
The goal is for cherries to be a single layer on the beds, maximum 2 - 4 cm of depth. Each station has calculated exactly what volume will fit perfectly on their sized tables to achieve this. 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.

This focus on extremely thin layers, coupled with frequent turning and temperature monitoring, is to ensure that the flavors 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 natural process coffee is around 50 - 55 days.

Washed:
This is where the Ikizere processing get’s interesting! Though this is technically a washed process coffee, the fermentation step happens prior to the depulping. Selected cherries are left to ferment, submerged in water, for 10 hours. After fermentation, when the fruit has started to soften, the coffee is manually depulped by simply pressing on the cherries by hand to expel the seeds. 

After manual depulping, coffee moves directly to the grading channels. Here the coffee is rigorously washed to remove any remaining mucilage and separated by density. After grading, the coffees are soaked (now with nearly no mucilage attached) in a tank of water for a final 8 to 12 hours. This is thought to promote even distribution of moisture throughout the seeds, thus leading to more even drying. Coffee is then moved onto shaded drying beds for 48 - 72 hours. This step has two distinct benefits. First, it sets the trajectory for the entire drying phase by initially beginning very gently and slowly under complete shade. Secondly, it allows ample time for intensive sorting while the parchment is still wet - this is important because certain defects (seeds bitten by Antestia in particular, thought to cause the potato defect) can be seen much more easily when the parchment is wet.

When the moisture content reaches 11.0%, the drying phase is considered complete.
The parchment is bagged and stored in a dry warehouse until time for milling. Total drying times for washed process coffee is around 30 - 40 days.

In Emmanuel’s words: "In the case of [the Ikizere] washed coffee, there was a difference in coffee pulping. This lot was pulped using women’s hands, not pulping machines. We decided to make this traditional method of coffee pulping in order to create emotional, closer relation with this lot and owners. It takes time to do such method and this helped these women to talk, discuss much about their lives, coffee, issues, etc. and exchange ideas to overcome those issues. The time spent together pulping coffee was crucial and practically important in building their social relationship."

What to Expect:
Ikizere Natural boasts all the fruity notes with a juicy mouthfeel and ample sweetness. This natural shines as a pour over and can even make an interesting and delicious cortado (think strawberries and cream)! 

Ikizere Washed offers warming spices, snappy acidity, dried fruits all in a clean, bright cup. This coffee also shines as a pour over and would also make a beautiful single-origin espresso.  

We hope you love these coffees - and feel free to let us know what your favorite style is!

Read the full story of how we came up with the series on the blog