October 25 2019 – Kevin Mbundu
How to brew the perfect cup of Kivu noir
Get inside tips from our resident coffee expert, Kevin Mbundu. Kevin is one of Kivu noir’s co-founders and inherited a passion for coffee from his dad. In 2003, Kevin visited a cupping session in London. He was too young to really understand any of it, but the experience was a vivid blend of aromas and tastes. He found it inspiring to see professionals who cared so much about coffee – and resolved to become one of them.
Q. Tell me - what’s the best way to brew Kivu noir?
Let’s start by talking about the grind. If you’re going to be brewing a pot of filter coffee, using a French press or doing pour-over, then a medium-ground will serve you best. For espresso, you’ll want to buy a bag of whole beans and grind them finely.
When it comes to the coffee-to-water ratio, it depends on your taste preferences, but as a general rule of thumb, 10 – 12 grams of coffee per cup won’t disappoint. Make sure that water is piping hot – Kivu noir expresses itself best in water that is 90 – 95 degrees Celsius.
There’s one more thing that’s important to mention: always use freshly harvested coffee. If it’s been sitting around for a while in warehouses after harvest (which is the case 99.99% of the time) and become stale, it’s not going to give you the coffee experience you crave.
Q. What equipment works best with this type of coffee?
There are no right or wrong brewing tools – it all depends on how much time you have. If you’ve got to dash and just need your morning coffee, we suggest keeping it simple and using a filter coffee machine, or perhaps your Keurig or Nespresso cup. If you’ve got time to really appreciate your cup of Kivu noir, we recommend rolling out the French press, AeroPress, pour-over or even siphon equipment.
Q. Do I drink Kivu noir with milk, or straight up?
We understand this is a controversial question in coffee circles! It really depends on your preferences. That said, milk – and sugar, for that matter – is often added to coffee to mask excess bitterness.
With Kivu noir, which is smooth and fruity, with little bitterness, there’s no need to add either. And, since it’s a single estate coffee, you’ll probably want to experience the authentic taste of our estate without any additives getting in the way.
Q. What foods does Kivu noir go with?
Since Kivu noir is smooth with little bitterness, we’ve found it goes with most dishes, both savory and sweet. One stand-out example is mandazi, a kind of sweet donut that’s popular in Rwanda. You could cook up a batch of mandazi yourself, if you’re feeling adventurous. Otherwise, why not try Kivu noir with your favorite coffee-time snack?
Q. Any expert hacks I can try to make my cup of Kivu noir even better?
When we’re in the mood for an exotic flavor, a neat little trick we like to use is adding a pinch of cinnamon powder to the coffee grounds before we get to the hot water stage. One pinch per cup usually does it for us, but you can add more or less to get the spiciness just right for your personal taste.Also, if you’re really serious about coffee, we recommend investing in your own grinder and buying fresh, whole beans to grind as and when you want a cup of Kivu noir. That way, you can grind to a range of different sizes, opening up all sorts of new coffee drinking experiences.