Hey there, everybody. I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season—I know I did. Santa is always very, very good to me.
With the holidays over, though, and 2013 officially upon us, it’s time for us to refocus and get back to reviewing coffees that don’t bear the “holiday blend” stamp. Thankfully, when my friend, Mark Barany, sent me Kuma’s Bear Claus, he also sent me another little something to get the new year started off right.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping a cup of Kagumoini Kenya, from Kuma Coffee in Seattle, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Today’s coffee comes from Mugaga Farmers Cooperative, based in Mathira, Nyeri, Kenya.
Kagumoini is a “factory” (a coffee mill) that is part of the Mugaga Farmer’s Cooperative Society, directed by Peter Macharia. It’s near Karatina town in Mathira, Nyeri with average farms in the area at 1600 meter altitude, red volcanic loam soils (typical for the area), and other crops including tea, corn, and bananas. It’s a typical cooperative in those respects, but the quality of coffee produced at this mill has been very high season after season.
Each factory has hundreds of small-hold farmers that contribute to it. These SL28 and 34 cherries were hand picked and processed with two fermentations, a post soak and multiple washing stages in between. The coffees are then immediately dried in two stages on raised beds.
As with other good coops in Nyeri, they always have the farmer separate the ripeness of the coffee cherry before submitting it for processing, removing under-ripes that create astringency in the cup. Small things like this make a huge difference in the resulting coffee.
origins: Marathina, Nyeri, Kenya
farms: Mugaga Farmers Cooperative
elevations: 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
Kagumoini Kenya’s aroma is luscious and sweet. It has some candied, sugar-coated elements to it—lots of Tupelo honey, pink lemonade, vanilla, and cocoa; but it also has lighter herbal and floral aromatics, like jasmine, orange peel, and cherry blossoms.
A sharp, tart pink lemonade flavor dominates the cup. There are a lot of other flavors going on too, but it’s that pink lemonade that is so powerful. In fact, it might even be a little overbearing.—it’s almost too sweet. Furthermore, even though it has the lighter side of a medium body, it has a thick, syrupy strawberry wine mouthfeel that practically coats the entire palate.
This coffee has a sparkling acidity and a complex profile that is bright, lively—effervescent, even. There are a lot of fruits happening in the cup—apple, grape, tangerine, banana, strawberry, cherry… Plus, its notes of white sugar make it even more decadent.
Having said that, however, there are a few flavors that are heavier, a bit denser, and every bit as sweet: bakers chocolate, honey, and cashews.
Medium body; winy mouthfeel; tart strawberry lemonade acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Kuma Coffee’s Kagumoini Kenya is one heck of a cup of coffee. Wow.
I really liked this coffee, but I will say this—it’s almost overwhelming; it gets right up to the point of being too sweet, but then backs off. It’s one to be consumed in moderation. Here’s a little cupping tip for this coffee: when you take your slurps, the longer you hold it on your palate, the more you get out of it. And the more you get out of this coffee, the better; it’s a very clean cup with an awful lot of flavor to offer, so savor every last drop of it while you can.
If you have a sweet tooth, though, this is the coffee for you; particularly if you have a sweet tooth and your New Year’s resolution is to give up candy.
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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.