The Kenyan AA Kichwa Tembo coffee comes from the Masai Mara region of Kenya near the Kichwa Tembo Wildlife Preserve.
Kichwa Tembo is located on the western border of the Maasai Mara reserve in southwest Kenya. It’s Swahili for “head of the elephant.” I don’t know what that means exactly so the translation doesn’t help much, but you may feel free to wax poetic on that one for yourself.
This coffee is graded and sold as a “Kenya AA.” Coffee grading can be obscure and vary greatly in its meaning from country to country. Coffee in Kenya is graded after it has been milled. These grades are assigned based on the size of the bean, and in Kenya larger bean size is considered to be a sign of quality. Grading designation is as follows: AA is the largest, followed by A and B.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya AA Kichwa Tembo, from Royal Mile Coffee Roasters in Haddon Township, New Jersey. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kichwa Tembo, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1200 – 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 28 g
water: 425 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pour
The aroma of this Kenya Kichwa Tembo is fantastic. Very sweet and somewhat lively, with scents of honeyed brown sugar, tropical fruits, and a bouquet of floral aromatics that come bursting out of the cup.
Taking my first few sips of the cup post-brew, I’m struck by how immediately bright and lively this coffee is. From the very first sip, intensely juicy, tangy, zesty, spicy, sour tropical fruits come gushing over the tongue, enticing and exciting my taste buds with flavors of passion fruit, pomegranate, red delicious apple, grapefruit, and spiced cherry.
As the cup cools off, its intensity backs off quite a bit and settles into a sweet coffee. It’s actually somewhat reminiscent of a mead or a cherry ceyser with its honeyed texture and cherry flavors. I’m also tasting salted caramel, brown sugar, and a flourish of floral aromatics that waft through the finish.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
Dear Reader, we just had our first great Kenyan coffee of 2015 with this, Royal Mile Coffee’s Kenya AA Kichwa Tembo. Don’t let the fact that this is the first Kenyan coffee I’ve reviewed in 2015 dissuade you, however—this was still a great coffee!
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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.