After discovering at least one great roaster outside the City of Chicago, I’m eager to discover more great roasters that are based in suburbs, or even areas that are well outside of major metropolitan areas. It seems like these companies are very eager to prove themselves and I’m the sort of guy that is very eager to to put their abilities to the test.
I know for a fact that Velton Ross, a roaster based just outside of Seattle, is a guy that believes in his products and is all too willing to put them to the test. He emailed me a couple of weeks ago and told me that he wanted to get his coffee in to my hands.
I, of course, replied that I was beyond happy to accept his offer, but after my Marley Coffee debacle, I felt that I had to warn him that I’m going to speak my mind whether I like the coffee or not.
His reply? “Really it was the Marley reviews that made me WANT to send coffee your way.”
I’ve got to respect that sort of attitude! I can’t wait to put his coffee to the test.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’ll be sipping a cup of Kenya Nyeri Gatuiriri Peaberry, from Velton’s Coffee in Everett, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Gaturiri factory is a wet mill located on the fertile foothills of Mount Kenya in the Nyeri district of the Central province. With 960 farmer members from the three surrounding villages of Gaturiri, Githima, and Karindundu, Gaturiri is part of the Barichu Farmer Cooperative Society (FCS) which is the larger member-run entity that oversees coffee sales and financial matters. Gaturiri was built in 1965 under the Mathira FCS. In 1996, Gaturiri, along with Gatomboya factory across the valley, broke off their affiliation to join Barichu FCS.
Ngatia Kanyoge, a coffee farmer for over 25 years, is the general manager of Gaturiri. As general manager he sits on the Barichu Board of Directors, works with the washing station staff on training and mill improvements, and represents the needs of the member farmers.
In the Karindundu micro region, each farmer has an average of 300 coffee trees grown naturally under the shade of grevillea, macadamia, and eucalyptus trees. Each farmer cultivates their coffee plot around their individual homes alongside other crops such as tea, maize, bananas, and various vegetables. The main harvest season is from October to January.
Coffee cherries are hand-picked for optimum ripeness which requires each area to be picked multiple times over the harvest at 10 to 14 day intervals. Gaturiri Factory has trained all of the mill workers, agronomists, and clerks to attain excellence in their craft. They are a superb example of Kenya’s process, which is considered to be the most intricate in the world.
At the factory, the cherries are sorted and graded meticulously before they are accepted and processed using a 4 disc depulper. The nearby Kirigu River provides the water source for the factory. Once depulped, the beans are double fermented with intermittent washing and extended soaking. The wet beans are taken from the soaking tanks to pre-drying beds which wick away most of the moisture on the beans before they are piled on another bed to gently finish the drying process.
origin: Karindundu, Nyeri, Kenya
elevation: 1700-1800 meters above sea level
The first couple of times I tried this coffee, it was bright and tropical and so incredibly lively. After about a week, the last couples I made it, the flavor and texture both seem to have completely changed.
Let this be a lesson to all of you future coffee bloggers: always take notes, every day you drink your coffee—the flavor shifts from day to day and, sometimes, it changes so much you won’t even recognize it after a while.
Now, there is still just as much flavor, but it’s much thicker, much deeper, much longer. Even the body of the coffee seems to have thickened. The flavors are thick, sweet, and juicy, as I’m picking up notes raisins, currants, and bunches and bunches of ripe concord grapes. Scratch that—I’m picking up the sweet, thick juiciness of fresh concord grape jelly. It’s the same sort of sweet thickness that you’d taste if you spread some grape jelly on top of butter. If, of course, you also smear honey and brown sugar all over your biscuits because those flavors are in this cup too.
As the cup cools off, the flavor gets a whole lot more intense with massive notes of plums, sweet red delicious apples, black cherry, blueberry, and strawberry.
Full body; jammy body; grape acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
What an incredible cup of coffee. Srsly. The Kenya Nyeri Gatuiriri, from Velton’s Coffee, is a super-intense, super-flavorful, super-delicious coffee that is a relentless onslaught on the tastebuds from beginning to end. It goes long, it goes deep, it is a coffee that just does not stop, does not quit, does not at any point take it easy on the palate.
I loved this Kenya. It was one of those rare coffees that I just couldn’t get enough of. Every time I got to the bottom of the cup, a single tear streamed down my cheek. When I got to the bottom of the bag…?
I don’t even want to talk about it.
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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.