This coffee comes to us from the Thunguri mill (also called a “factory” in Kenya), which is located near Karatina in the Central Province of Kenya. Thunguri is a member of the Kigirigwi Farmers Cooperative Society which has a membership of 800 active farmer partners.
Founded in 1987, the mill sits on seven acres of farm land that is dedicated to processing at an elevation of 1628 meters above sea level. The mill mostly processes the famous SL28 and SL34 Bourbon varieties from the surrounding mountainous region, which can exceed elevations of 1750 meters.
After being harvested by hand, coffee is brought to the mill, where it undergoes the traditional Kenyan washing method—the cherries are removed from the green beans via water pumped and subsequently recirculated from the Kamukokari River. After pulping, the coffee is fermented for 24-36 hours, washed clean, and soaked for an additional 12-16 hours.
The coffee is then moved onto nearby raised drying beds for final sun drying, which can take anywhere from 12-14 days. The coffee is turned throughout the day to ensure that it’s thoroughly and evenly dried. Once the coffee achieves 11-12% moisture content, it is milled to remove the parchment and packed into 15 kilo vacuum-sealed bricks and exported.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Kenya Thunguri, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, in Viroqua, Wisconsin, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Thunguri, Kirinyaga, Kenya
producer: Gukundi Cooperative
elevation: 1600 – 1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: Fair Trade
The aroma coming off of the Kenya Thunguri is just heavenly. Like a fine white wine, I’m getting absolutely incredible scents of white grapes, plums, apples, citrus, rose hips, and cherry blossoms.
Oooo-weee!, this coffee is good! Wow. Right out of the gate, the Thunguri splashes onto the palate with incredibly bright and juicy tropical fruits. Typically—even with Kenyas—I don’t taste this type of flavor explosion until the cup has cooled a bit; but, this… It’s throwing everything it has at me all at once. Really incredible notes of kiwi, passion fruit, mango, plum, pear, apple, starfruit, watermelon, agave, strawberry, clementine, raisin, and tart green grapes relentlessly flood my taste buds, while a surge of cane sugar and very light caramel sweetness pushes up behind.
As it cools off, instead of getting even brighter, the coffee actually becomes a bit more contained. It’s no less flavorful or bright or anything like that; rather, all of the fruit flavors up front seem to congeal, becoming more of a compact flavor instead of several different flavors all happening at once. Does that make sense? As each sip finishes, mild Darjeeling tea aromatics and flavors present themselves, and leave behind somewhat of an astringency.
Light body; juicy mouthfeel; green grape acidity; dry finish.
the bottom line:
Hot damn! The Kenya Thunguri, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, is lip-smackin’ good. There are two things I knew going into this review: Kenya has been putting out stellar lots this year, and Kickapoo Coffee reliably releases well-handled coffees. But this Kenya from Kickapoo. Otherworldly good.
Intensely bright, super juicy tropical fruits are the highlight of this coffee for sure, but there’s also a fine supporting cast of floral aromatics and sugar sweetness.
If you’re a fan of Kenyas or are an adventurous coffee drinker, I very, very highly recommend purchasing this one. But it’s worth noting that Craft Coffee is selling this coffee exclusively, as they purchased Kickapoo’s entire supply, and there wasn’t much to begin with so it’s not going to last very long (it may even be sold out already—I don’t know). And since Craft has the Thunguri exclusively, once it’s gone, it’s gone. So take my word for it and jump on it fast.
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