This Kenyan lot is from the Gondo Cooperative, which is part of the New Kiriti Farmers Cooperative Society in Murang’a County. Last year, Onyx Coffee Lab had the distinct opportunity to buy this coffee alone with a group of other micro-roasters out of Colorado (Corvus Coffee).
Murang’a lies to the south of Mount Kenya, just below Nyeri. The cooperative is made up of many, many small holder farmers—most with less than a hectare of planted coffee. The farmers deliver their cherry from the highlands to Gondo, where it is wet-processed and then dried on raised beds. Water flow for washing the cherries is provided by the nearby river of the same name, Gondo.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Murang’a Gondo, from Onyx Coffee Lab in Fayetteville, Arkansas, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Murang’a, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Gondo Cooperative (New Kiriti Farmers Cooperative Society)
elevation: 2000 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 28 g
water: 425 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
The aroma of the Kenya Murang’a Gondo is wonderfully complex; lightly fragranced and perfumed by faint floral aromatics, soft citrus, and nuances of honeysuckle.
As I take my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the coffee greets my palate with a honeyed texture that brings along with it sweet, fragrant flavors of silky rose hips, caramelized berries, and raw honey. It’s actually pretty delicate up front, while it’s still piping hot, but as it begins to cool it immediately bursts to life with silky, bright, zesty, and sour flavors of papaya, strawberry, lemon rind, pomegranate, and spiced cherry.
As the cup cools off, it undergoes another transition; sweet, floral, and sour all back off, making room for herbaceous, nutty, spicy, and savory. Some really unique flavors come to the forefront of every sip at this point in the cup; flavors that really change my taste buds: cooking spices (basil and rosemary, especially), green peppercorn that bites at the sides of my tongue, macadamia, and sun dried tomato all make an appearance before the bottom of the cup rounds out with zesty lemon acidity, honey, and ginger.
Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
Even though I’m posting this review in January 2015, Onyx Coffee Lab’s Kenya Murang’a Gondo was actually the final holdout of the incredible run of African coffees that graced The Table in 2014. And, let me tell you—this one was no exception.
This coffee was absolutely explosive on the palate; intensely flavorful, really bright and lively, and complex…? I’ve rarely come across a
Kenya coffee this complex: sweet, sour, tart, floral, silky, buttery, herbaceous, nutty, spicy, savory… The Murang’a Gondo runs the gambit. What’s more, though, is that it is very drinkable, enjoyable, delicious coffee that pleases the palate as much as it excites and challenges it.
Damn! What a coffee.
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.