This coffee comes to us from the lush rolling hills of the Kirinyaga region near the Mount Kenya native forest of Central Kenya. About 700 small holder farmers bring their coffee cherries to the Kabingara washing station for processing. The co-op was established in 1988 on a seven-acre plot of land near the small town of Kerugoya. Their relatively small production volume allows for an increased focused on quality compared to many other factory-style stations in the area.
This lot is particularly interesting because it is entirely comprised of the SL34 varietal. Oftentimes in Kenya we see lots that are a mix of SL28 and SL34, weighted more towards SL28, but now we see how delicious SL34 can be when it stands alone. A pretty rare treat in the Kenyan coffee world.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Kabingara AA, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua, Wisconsins. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Kirinyaga, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Karithathi Cooperative
elevation: 1700 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 16, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:30 pulse pour, 1:15 drop
This cup of Kenya Kabingara AA opens with a really beautiful aroma; really fragrant and perfumed with a heavy emphasis on floral aromatics (rose petals, violet, and honeysuckle, especially), but there are also some bright red fruits playing off those flower scents: apple, grape, and berries.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee, honey and lavender coat my palate, enveloping my tongue and a bouquet of roses and violet petals flutters in over the top. What follows closely behind is a slow gush of dense, mildly sweet (and somewhat tart) fruit notes: raisin, cranberry, and blackberry. There is also a really interesting spiced cherry wine dynamic happening up front.
As it cools off, the cup comes to life even more and it becomes sparkly and effervescent and oh so juicy. Really beautiful flavors of pomegranate, red delicious apple, passion fruit, and a really sharp grapefruit acidity flood the taste buds, and there’s a spiciness that can be attributed to notes of zesty orange peel and cloves that nips at the tip of the tongue in the finish.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
In a year that has seen so many incredible Kenyan coffees, it comes as no surprise that a Kenyan coffee from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters would be really incredible.
Their Kenya Kabingara AA was a fabulous coffee; incredibly bright and lively, very flavorful, well-rounded, balanced, a little complex, and so very clean.
This coffee was absolutely dynamite, but it burst over the palate like fireworks. It was, truly, everything that I want an exceptional Kenyan coffee to be.
Did you like this? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome here at the Table! Pull up a chair and speak your mind by entering a comment below. Also remember to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!
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.