Kenya Tambaya is one of the coffee factories (wet-mills that are organized as cooperatives) within the Rumukia Coffee Farmer Society in the Karatina area of Nyeri, Kenya. Tambaya is close to Mukurwe-ini, and was formerly part of this society until it fell apart in the 1990s. Within the same Rumukia group are some other fantastic farms: Kiawamururu, Gatura, and Thunguri to name a few. The area of Tambaya is 1550 meters altitude, in the fertile foothills of Mt. Kenya and Aberdare ranges.
The Kenya Tambaya cooperative has 1093 members and the average number of coffee trees per member is just 250. Again, in Kenyan coffee societies, the farmer’s plots are so small, they are measured in numbers of trees, not in area of land as they are in other coffee origins. But this means that co-ops provide micro-management of every coffee tree by the owner of the land, not by a large-scale agriculture operation like the big estates of Kiambu or Thika. The member farmers have the two preferred coffee varieties under cultivation, SL28 and SL34, with the vast majority of trees being SL28.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Tambaya AA, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Karatina, Nyeri, Kenya
farm: Kenya Tambaya Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Rumukia Coffee Farmer Society
elevation: 1550 – 1650 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Kenya Tambaya AA is off the charts. My goodness. This is a very perfumed aroma, with a bouquet of floral aromatics, berries, and citrus.
And the flavor? Well if the aroma was off the charts, the flavor is somewhere in uncharted territory—soaring above the heavens. This coffee is absolutely unreal. It features a medium body and very juicy mouthfeel, yet it is still an extremely voluptuous and curvy coffee with soft, rounded edges (despite its sharp, biting, and incredibly complex citric acidity, which I’ll get to momentarily). There isn’t much of a sugary presence to speak of—perhaps vanilla and butterscotch in the background—but there is a massive presence of juicy fruits, which floods the taste buds. Loads of cherry (cherry mead, more accurately), plum, apple, pomegranate, and horned melon; then there is this melange of citric fruits that inform the coffee’s incredibly complex acidity: tart pomelo, tangy tangerine, crisp lemon-lime (particularly reminiscent of Sprite), and zesty blood orange.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
Wow. This is quite a coffee.
PERC Coffee’s Kenya Tambaya AA is in a league of its own; a coffee completely unto itself. It is an intensely juicy, supple, fruit-forward coffee that explodes out of the cup and floods the palate. Interestingly, for such a bright/lively/tart/tangy/zesty coffee, it is also quite elegant, featuring a soft, curvy, voluptuous body.
I’ve had some exceptional Kenyan coffees in 2015, and I can’t think of a better one with which to close the year. The Kenya Tambaya is divine.
*content provided by Coffee Shrub
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.