The country currently has six million people working in the coffee industry with over 570,000 coffee farms. Some of the greatest coffees hail from the Nyeri District of the Central Province, nestled in the foothills between the Aberdare Mountains and the southwest slopes of Mount Kenya.
One of the factories in this region is Gatomboya, which joined the Barichu Cooperative in 1996 alongside the Gaturiri, Karatina, and Karidundu factories. Somewhere around 700 members of this cooperative tend to about 300 shrubs, all of which grow under a canopy of grevillea, macadamia, and eucalyptus tress.
Being surrounded by so many mountains, the coffee plants obviously grow at impressive elevations – in some areas, heights reach 1,770 meters above sea level.
Gatomboya Factory has several initiatives aimed at uplifting the living standards of its members and employees. These include: Credit facilities for school fees and medical emergencies, provision of farm inputs on credit and field days to train farmers on better farming methods.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Gatomboya, from Coffee Mojo in Wicklow, Ireland. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gatomboya, Kenya
farm/factory: Gatomboya Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Barichu Farmers Cooperative Society
elevation: 1770 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The first thing to take not of in the Gatomboya is its subtle aroma. It’s very delicate, very elegant. There are a lot of herbs and flowers to be detected in its pleasant scent: Darjeeling tea leaves, lilac, lavender, even lemon peel. But, like I said, it’s very subtle.
The first few sips of this coffee immediately post-brew are convoluted. A deep, velvety mixture of dark chocolate, tart red wine, mulling spices, and black tea leaves up front introduces notes of oak, and a touch of cane sugar in the finish.
As it cools, the similarities to red wine become even more prevalent as the coffee becomes very, very fruit-forward. Luscious, juicy flavors of blackberry, cherry, currant, raisin, very bright purple grape highlights, plum, apple, tart pink grapefruit, and a zesty lemon acidity all wash the flavors up front away to clear some space for a finish of lilac and violet aromatics in the finish.
Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Kenya Gatomboya, from Coffee Mojo, may as well have been bottled and served in a wine glass. Tremendous flavor, great balance, nice clarity—definitely a coffee worth checking out.
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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.