Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A lovely Roaster’s Pick for the summer months
I’ve been waiting many months for this coffee to hit our counters. While I’m big on Brazilian brew, and I’ve long been enamored with the exotic, blueberry-like fruit of fine Ethiopian beans, there’s something about a classic coffee from Kenya that no other origin can replicate. Nutty, smooth, and light summer drinking. It’s delicious. This new arrival from the Kiawamururu co-op sure hits the spot!
The history of Kenyan coffee is a strange one. Although it’s reasonably close to coffee’s homeland—Ethiopia—coffee didn’t come to Kenya until 1893 when plants were brought all the way back from Brazil. Coffee growing was reserved for European farmers until the time of the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule in the 1950s. This coffee comes from the village of Kiawamururu in Kenya’s Central Province, south of Ethiopia. The region has a lot of both dairy farming and coffee, two culinary subjects close to my heart. Nearly 1000 small farms have banded together to collaborate through the creation of the cooperative. As we do here in the ZCoB, the folks at Kiawamururu work hard to involve the member farmers in decision-making and in the leadership of the co-op. They do extensive training for farmers, everything from agronomy and quality standards to personal sustainability and financial management.
The coffee bushes at Kiawamururu grow at about 5500 feet in altitude, ideal for a high-quality cup. The coffee cherries are all hand sorted, wet cured, and then carefully dried on raised beds in the sun, all of which contribute to the complex flavor of the finished coffee. As I said above, the coffee has nearly ideal growing conditions and only high-quality Arabica beans are grown there. Kenya is generally acknowledged to have some of the most delicious coffee around, but, oddly, its annual production is decreasing. Which makes me all the more happy to have this one on hand! It’s a light roast that’s quite lovely for your summer drinking! In terms of the flavor notes, a lot of people say grapefruit. Maybe one that’s glazed and then caramelized with Muscovado brown sugar on top? It’s got hints of raisins, honey, tangerine, and a touch of tamarind.
We have it brewed in the urns at the Deli all summer. I tried it last Sunday morning as an espresso—smooth, nutty, down-to-earth, excellent. In a Chemex, it was smooth, light, super juicy, almost tea-like. And brewed in an Aeropress, it was even nuttier, but still also light. The Kenya is a great pairing with the Bakehouse’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake—if you’re considering sending a housewarming or new baby gift, a coffee cake and a bag of Kenya Kiawamururu beans would be beautiful!