Along the southern slopes of Mount Kenya a Cooperative society named Rungeto runs three factories: Kii, Karimikui and Kiangoi. These three factories are known across the world as being stellar producers of some of the best coffees coming out of any country, not just Kenya. Rungeto was created in 1953 and given the three high yield factories. Its entire production rivals some Coops that have many more factories, and they recently hired a third party organization to help them increase the yield three fold over the next few years. So needless to say, the Rungeto Farmers Cooperative Society is a clear example of excellence.
The Karimikui Factory has over 1000 farmers deliver cherry to its wet mill. These farmers grow their coffee on small plots of land throughout the foothills of Mt. Kenya where some of the most ideal conditions for growing coffee exist.
The Karimikui Washing Station is located in the Kirinyaga District. It is one of the three washing stations operated by the Rung’eto Farmers Cooperative Society, and services smallholder farmers from three neighboring villages. This specific lot is AA Top, meaning it has met the highest sorting standards in Kenya. It is shade-grown and made up of the SL28 variety specifically.
Great care is taken at the wet mill to ensure high quality standards are met, pumping river water from Karimikui River for use in their operations. After pulping the coffee is stored over night, washed, soaked and spread on raised drying tables to be turned regularly for even drying.
The factory has implemented a number of environmental sustainability projects.
In October, this coffee helped advance Kevin Reddy to third place in the SCAA South Central Brewer’s Cup and Nora Brady to sixth in the SCAA South Central Barista Competition. Those judges were obviously impressed with it, but we’ll see how it fares today at The Table.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Karimukui, from Blueprint Coffee in Saint Louis, Missouri, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kirinyaga, Kenya
farm/factory: Karimikui Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Rung’eto Farmers Cooperative
elevation: 1300 – 1900 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Kenya Karimikui is just… incredible. The complexity of the coffee, though, is what’s most apparent in the Karimikui’s aroma with notes of grape, lemon grass, honey, and raisin coming up. There’s also a bit of sweet spices mixed in that provide a really interesting dimension to the aroma.
Boy oh boy! My first few sips, immediately post-brew, have already provided my palate with a cavalcade of intense flavors. A river of caramel, vanilla, and honey coats the palate, ushering in flavors of cherry, soft citrus, raw cocoa, and a flutter of floral aromatics that come floating in over the top.
As it cools off even more intense flavors come to the forefront – my goodness! Beautifully luscious notes of Merlot, cherry, peach, dates, raisin, kumquat, and red currant form a juicy tropical punch taste while sharp grapefruit and zesty lemon peel combine to create a formidable acidity. What’s surprising about the coffee at this point, though, is that it’s not just a fruity free-for-all – there’s also plenty of sweets, including butter cream, figgy pudding, butterscotch, and shortbread, while brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts show up in the finish of each sip.
Full body; silky mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
In its debut at The Table, Blueprint Coffee provided one of the best Kenyan coffees I’ve had all season (
possibly probably, ever) with their Kenya Karimikui. I mean – this is some coffee.
The Karimikui is intensely flavorful, complex, and nuanced, with a melange of fruits, spices, and sugary sweetness that bombards the taste buds relentlessly. However, this is a coffee in which every flavor complements each other, so it’s not too much for the palate to handle – rather, it’s a very well-rounded, balanced coffee that is as sweet as it is acidic.
This is a coffee that didn’t stay in my cup long after brewing it, nor on my shelf long after receiving it. It’s just… delicious.
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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.