The Wanjengi cooperative wet mill is in a fantastic area for coffee production. High elevation, plentiful rainfall, and rich volcanic soil make this area prime coffee country. Most farms have cut steps for growing coffee into the mountains, which results in a constant enrichment of the soil, as fertilizer and compost move down the mountain to replace minerals lost.
Farmers harvest by hand during the day and usually pick the ripest cherries every three days; resulting in a harvest period of up to several weeks. After picking each day, the farmers bring their coffee to the Wanjengi Co-op for wet processing.
The Wanjengi Co-op owns their own wet mill, processing all the coffee harvested at the member farms on site, ensuring the coffee is picked, sorted, pulped, and into the fermentation tanks within a single 36 hour period. Fermentation is checked by hand, requiring years of experience to do correctly.
After fermentation, the coffee is dried within 12-15 days on raised beds, covered as necessary to avoid rains and inclement weather, before being moved to the dry mill for processing.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Wanjengi AA, from Flying Baron Roasters in Lakewood, Colorado. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Murang’a County, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Wanjengi Cooperative
elevation: 1650 – 2650 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 17, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:00 pulse pour, 1:15 drop
The aroma of the Kenya Wanjengi comes bursting out of the cup. It is heavy and pungent, layered and very complex. Sweet, floral, even a little savory, with scents of caramel, chocolate, muscovado sugar, hazelnut, cinnamon, and sun dried tomato.
My first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew flood my palate with juicy flavors, similar to the notes found in the aroma, actually: sweet cherry tomato, zesty blood orange, spicy oregano. These all come flooding in on a river of honey and salted caramel which, coupled with the flavors up front, make for a rich earthiness.
As it cools off, it gets very sweet, sharp, and so much livelier. Red apple, pear, raisin, and a tangy tangerine acidity jump all over the palate, enticing and exciting the taste buds. This coffee packs a real zing.
Medium body; honey mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly dry finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Of the three coffees that Flying Baron Roasters sent me this week, their Kenya Wanjengi was, by far, the best. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, seeing as 2014 has been the year of the Amazing Kenyan Coffee.
The Wanjengi really took me by surprise, though. Dynamite coffee.
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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.