In case you didn't know, let me tell you now: any good coffee can turn into a good espresso or filter coffee, as long as you make it properly. And since you are the master of your own cup, please try it as you like it. But before trying it, get yourself a bar of very good dark chocolate, the highest quality you can find, add a tiny pinch of flaky salt and taste it (have you ever tried it before?). Then make yourself a cup of coffee, bearing those flavours in mind. Salty chocolate is the dominant note of this wonderful and very deep coffee, but it will be paired with - and you won't fail to notice it - the notes of a thousand berries that will slowly overlap with each other as the poured hot coffee becomes lukewarm and eventualy cold. Constantly changing but always dancing around that salty chocolate that constitutes its backbone.
Democratic Republic of Congo, on the southern shores of Lake Kivu, 2000 meters above the sea level.
Here, over 5600 farmers are united in a cooperative called SOPACDI, which stands for Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral. Each farmer owns on average less than two hectares of plantations, and they all give their precious coffee cherries to ten processing centers in which SOPACDI's business is divided.
This coffee cherries belong to various cultivars, all precious, starting from that Blue Mountain that became famous in Jamaica but, like almost all cultivars, was born here, in the heart of Africa. Kalungu-Birambo is delivered by the farmers to the washing station of Kalehe, on the shores of the lake.
It is a fully washed coffee: the pulp of the cherries (called cascara) is mechanically removed as soon as they are harvested, and the pit goes through dry fermentation for 12 hours. For another 12 hours the fermentation continues in water, in which the coffee beans are submerged. Then a green river of beans heads towards the washing channels, where they soak for another 12 hours. At this point the coffee, purified of any residual pulp and mucilage (a gelatinous substance common to various plants), is left to dry on suspended nets for 14 to 20 days.
The Smoking Tiger coffees are not very dark: we like confident but short and delicate roasts that do not hide anything in a coffee (not even its defects) but are able to intensify the specific characteristics of each territory, cultivar, and processing method. In few words: light roasts make the most of diversity. Having said that, perhaps with this coffee we have gone a little further than we usually do: the thing is, in this coffee from Heart of Darkness, we sensed a very intense - and a little salty - note of dark chocolate, and we wanted to follow its trail to enhance it to the maximum.