Today’s coffee was purchased from the Kirimahiga, Kahiriga, Kayu, and Gondo Cooperatives. These cooperatives are made up of a group of societies in the region of Murang’a County, Kenya. The beans were hulled and graded by Sasini Coffee Mill.
The farms on which these coffee trees were grown are located on the slopes of Mount Kenya. They are produced by a group of small skilled farmers ranging about 3,000 to 6,000, most of whom own between five to twenty acres of land.
Though not organic certified coffee, farmers in this region use animal manure, organic compost as fertilizers to feed their healthy coffee trees, which are grown on high fertile volcanic soil. Murang’a region receives two seasons of rain; therefore, rainfall is plentiful and well distributed throughout the year, making the coffee plants to remain green throughout the year and free from irrigation.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Kenya Kahiriga Peaberry, from Suits and Knives Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Murang’a, Kenya
farm: Sasini Coffee Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1500 – 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 16, Preciso
coffee: 26.4 g
water: 261.7 g
water temp: 207°
pour: 2:30 concentric pour
The aroma of the Kenya Kahiriga is delightfully elegant, but robust, and booming with a massive floral bouquet. Big scents of chocolate, dark red fruits, brown sugar, and lots of purple flowers. There is a bit of roastiness, but it’s not enough detract from the rest of the aroma.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is coated by a wonderfully full-bodied coffee with a big, honeyed mouthfeel. It’s a very sweet coffee, characterized by brown sugar and molasses, but it has enough bitterness from the little bit of roast and dark chocolate to offset it. Again, it’s roasty, but not over-roasted. There is even a bit of fruitiness up front, quietly bubbling below the surface and resting in the back of every finish.
As the cup cools off, the fruit flavors break through the upper crust and come gushing over the palate. Fuji apple rushes over the tongue first, bringing along with it a deluge of raspberry, blackberry, peach, lychee, star fruit, and red grape.
Full body; honeyed mouthfeel; berry acidity; clean finish.
We in the third wave/specialty coffee community tend to be a bit critical of darker roasts; personally speaking, yeah, I prefer light roasts. Having said that, though, I’m not afraid of coffee that has a darker profile than I typically like if (and only if) that darker profile was an intentional result of the roaster trying to get another dimension out of the coffee.
I can’t speak to the mindset of Suits and Knives’s roastmaster when they put their Kenya Kahiriga Peaberry in the roaster, obviously; but I can tell you that this coffee’s darker profile did not at all detract from the quality of the cup. Sure, it’s a bit roastier than I like but it’s done tastefully; in fact, I want to remove any notion from your mind that this coffee is “over-roasted”—it’s not; it’s “more fully developed.”
I really enjoyed this Kenyan offering; it’s full-bodied, voluptuous, supple, and strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tart. It’s not a perfect coffee, but I think it’s one you’d be fortunate to try.
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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.