Typically, when a roaster selects coffees from Kenya, that coffee comes from one of the many cooperative societies that collect and process coffee from hundreds of small farmers who cultivate coffee on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. This is a great way to find some amazing coffees, yet because of the way the societies conduct business, it’s very difficult for roasters and importers to develop real and lasting relationships with the producers of some of the world’s best coffees.
However, now and then, buyers have the opportunity to connect with individual producers who grow and process coffee outside of the cooperative system. These estate producers grow and process coffee using their own fermentation tanks and drying tables—often overseeing the entire process from cherry to dried parchment—much like we see on small coffee farms throughout the Americas.
Black Oak Coffee’s first release from these estates comes from a producer name Rahab Muriuki who grows SL28 and SL34 variety coffees on her farm, which she has named Kabatha (pronounced Kafatha) after the small spring with the same name that runs next to the farm.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Kabatha AB, from Black Oak Coffee Roasters in Ukiah, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Acatenango, Guatemala
farm: Kabatha Estate
producer: Rahab Muriuki
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 18 (Preciso)
coffee: 30 g
water: 420 mL
pour: 1:30 pulse pour, ~1:15-30 drop
The aroma of the Kenya Kabatha is incredible. Fruity and floral, fragrant and perfumed, very sweet with scents of dried red berries, grapes, apple, honey, brown sugar, and red and purple flower petals.
From the very first sip of the cup immediately post-brew, this coffee absolutely explodes over the palate. Bright and juicy red and black berries burst like fireworks, while a full-bodied river of molasses and lavender slowly rolls down the middle of the tongue. This coffee has incredible clarity, and it’s enabling me to pick out the individual components that make the berry juice flavor: blackberry (especially), raspberry, strawberry, black currant, and cranberry.
As it cools off, it becomes even more intense; hot, too, as it takes on a zesty, spicy acidity. Incredibly juicy blood orange acidity, sweet plum wine, dark chocolate, and raw honey.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
As we wrap up our week-long Black Oak Coffee feature, we do so on a very, very high note.
Their Kenya Kabatha is another in a long line of great Kenyan coffees that have graced the Table since the beginning of 2014, and this is definitely one of the very finest I’ve had.
It was absolutely explosive; a rush of flavors from first sip to last lip-smackin “Aaaahhhhhhhh…..”
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.