Rwanda Musasa (March 2017 Reserve Subscription Coffee)
The Starbucks Reserve Rwanda Musasa is almost here. It's listed on the Starbucks website as the Reserve subscription coffee for March 2017. Sometimes the Reserve subscription coffees also get shipped internationally too. On February 6, 2017, I saw some of it being loaded into the Green Coffee Loading Pit at the Roastery. I strongly recommend the past article on the Green Coffee Loading Pit. It's an interesting look at the workings of the Seattle Roastery and an often unnoticed element of coffee quality control.
Here's what the unroasted Rwanda Musasa looks like:
And also you can see the burlap sack that the coffee was shipped in. It's interesting that all the markings on the burlap sacks come from the farmers. Starbucks doesn't tell or instruct farmers to add a "Star R" to their sacks. If they do so, it's because they do so out of pride for the brand. In addition, sometimes the Star R on the bags are little imperfect.
Here's a few seconds of the green, unroasted coffee being loaded into the Green Coffee Loading Pit:
One of the things that I love about the Roastery is this experience of the coffee that you'll be drinking at home, at the early stages, long before it gets to your cup. If you come to the Roastery, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see unroasted coffee, which might later be the same coffee that you're buying at Starbucks with Reserve coffees, or sent to you via the Roastery subscription.
According to Starbucks, here are the tasting notes for Rwanda Musasa:
"Starbucks Reserve® Rwanda Musasa features lemon acidity with notes of black plum and a syrupy, sweet finish."
The artwork for this card is based on traditional Imigongo art, which often includes the use of clay, cow dung, and geometric patterns, with colors of red, black, and more. The Starbucks designer who designed this card made a clay template for this design in a traditional Imigongo style, except she didn't use any cow dung in her clay artwork.
I didn't go to work today (February 6, 2017) because of a little snow in Seattle. I dropped by the Seattle Roastery first thing in the morning, did some running around and came back just in time for the Rwanda Musasa being loaded into the Green Coffee Loading Pit. But here's the sight of the Roastery this morning:
On Sunday, March 12, 2017, I dropped by the Roastery just as the subscription Rwanda Musasa coffee was being roasted, to be shipped this week to subscribers.
This is so much fun to be able to experience your coffee at every stage of production, once it gets to the Roastery. Roaster Mikey was roasting through a few cycles of it on the larger roaster, in the lower area of the Roastery. Here's the Rwanda Musasa coming out of the roaster, which will be shipped right away to subscription coffee subscribers:
It was a very busy Sunday at the Roastery today! I totally enjoyed that Mikey was showing a tray of the Musasa to many guests - the tray shows the Rwanda Musasa at different stages of roasting, from green coffee to fully roasted. It's interesting to see how the coffee looks at about 4 minutes in the roaster versus six minutes, versus fully roasted.
This fully-roasted coffee looks a little darker than it really is. When coffee professionals gauge the level of roast in a coffee, they look at it ground, and not just the whole bean. This coffee is roasted for about 11 and a half minutes at just hitting 425 degrees. This actually puts it on the lighter end of the Starbucks coffee roast profile spectrum. Some coffee professionals would say this is getting close close to a full city roast, but it is lighter than House Blend, and many quintessential Starbucks core coffees. It is on the edge between a blonde and a medium roast. If you want to gauge level of roast, grind the coffee up, and compare the ground coffee side by side with a core coffee, such as House. Starbucks coffee roasters give the coffee a number on a scale, indicating it's level of roast. I have heard the roasters say, in casual conversation, "Oh that's a 44," which, as far as I know, would be fairly light.