Speckled Ax

DR Congo Virunga Organic

Location: Portland, Maine

Origin: Kirumba, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Roast: Medium-Light

Est. Price: $17.00/12 ounces

Review Date: December 2017

Agtron: 58/82

Aroma: 9

Acidity/Structure: 8

Body: 9

Flavor: 9

Aftertaste: 8

Blind Assessment:

Deeply sweet-savory, uniquely pungent. Ripe tomato, pink peppercorn, lantana-like flowers, blood orange zest, fresh pipe tobacco in aroma and cup. Savory-leaning, richly sweet in structure; plush and syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is equal parts sweet and savory. Notes of citrus zest and lantana linger in the short and rich pipe tobacco in the long, while ripe tomato resonates throughout.


This coffee tied for the fourth-highest rating in a tasting of holiday coffees for Coffee Review‘s December 2017 tasting report. Produced entirely from trees of the Bourbon variety of Arabica by small-holding farmers around Virunga Coffee, which began collaborating with local cooperatives in 2011 to improve the quality of coffee production in this emerging growing region in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, across Lake Kivu from Rwanda. This is a wet-processed or “washed” coffee, meaning the fruit skin and pulp were removed from the beans immediately after harvesting and before drying. Speckled Ax is a roaster based in Portland, Maine, specializing in high-quality certified organic and small-lot coffees. The company roasts in a vintage wood-fired Petroncini roaster with the goal of highlighting each coffee’s best attributes. Visit www.speckledax.com for more information.

The Bottom Line: An exciting coffee from a newly emerging eastern Congo growing region: savory-edged, richly sweet, invitingly pungent.

This review originally appeared in the December, 2017 tasting report: 2017 Holiday Gift Coffees

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