Ben and Kristy Carlson
Read our interview with Kaffa
|Tasting Notes||Wild strawberry. Piña colada. Shortbread.|
|Method||View the brew guide for Nkonge|
Grown at exceptionally high altitude on a hanging cliff, Nkonge’s bright strawberry and tropical notes distinguish itself from the region’s hundreds of terroirs. Its eponymous hill faces the Kibira rainforest (which is home to thousands of chimpanzees) and Nkonge enjoys the area’s rich soil, diverse microclimates, and gentle winds. Nkonge’s cherries are washed with clear, pure water from two mineral springs. After harvest the coffee undergoes fermentation twice in 12 hours and is then rinsed thoroughly for six hours before being dried on raised beds for up to 30 days.
Produced by the couple Ben and Kristy Carlson as a part of their Long Miles Project, Nkonge is a life-changing coffee for everyone involved. The Carlsons uprooted their entire family (including their three children) on a long journey from the US to Burundi to improve the lives of coffee growers in Kayanza. With two washing stations, and an ongoing mission to assist farmers in coffee growth and production, the work of the Carlsons has benefited over 3,000 families living in the area.
Nkonge was roasted by Kaffa, a roastery founded in Oslo, Norway, in 2005 by Robert William Thoresen, the first-ever winner of the world barista’s cup championship. Early on, Robert helped establish the signature of Nordic coffee by opening some of the first specialty coffee shops, Mocca and Java, in Oslo. Five years ago, Robert also founded the Collaborative Coffee Source, one of the most respected green coffee importers in the world that has established transparent, direct trade relationships. The natural integration of green quality and roastery ensures Kaffa's exceptionally well-performing coffee, year after year.
At Collected, we find that Nkonge encompasses the best characteristics of African coffees—floral like an Ethiopian but with the intense acidity and brightness of a Kenyan. The coffee smells sugary sweet on the nose, with the syrupy fragrance of mango and ripe plums, the nuttiness of brown butter, and the tea notes of hibiscus. In the mouth, strawberry flavors coat the palate and become riper and juicier with each taste. The berry acidity is well tempered by a buttery shortbread and toffee notes. Nkonge takes on a refreshing, tropical quality as it cools and tropical flavors of pineapple and piña colada come through on the finish. A slightly tighter ratio (15.2:1) keeps Nkonge’s profile lively, flavorful and explosive, and the coffee takes well to being prepared at a higher strength.