We are thrilled to offer Kanzu’s first natural offering this season. The quality is sparkling—full of complex sweetness with jammy berry undertones and the signature candied ginger note we look for in Kanzu. It's a natural perfectly expressive of both its process and its terroir.
On the investment side, Kanzu leadership goes above and beyond the typical infrastructure and technical assistance washing station owners often provide. Last year during record prices, they had not only exceeded those prices but also given community members a special breed of cow as a gift to reward their hard work and loyalty. Three or four years ago they had just built covered drying beds to test against the full sun beds. So while there’s a beautiful consistency to the recipe that makes Kanzu great, there’s also a sense of experimentation and creativity that is part of it. Another part of that recipe is the place itself.
One thing that feels special about Kanzu is that unlike other washing stations which are fairly accessible from the roads, Kanzu doesn’t have road access. The station is nestled against a huge national forest called Nyungwe, so it’s protected for biodiversity and from deforestation. The forest collects cloud cover, generating a special misty microclimate that slows cherry maturation and protects the coffee from climate extremes. It’s right above Lake Kivu and the view looks down on the watershed, all the way down to the lake itself. Kanzu is on the downslope right below this forest, at an extremely high elevation, and we’ve always seen how the climate plays a huge role in the flavor development of these coffees. The cherries here ripen a lot later than most of the country and are frequently one of the last harvests of the season.
Cherries are of the bourbon varietal grown at a rocking 2100 MASL.