The birth of our Coffee Project in October 2015 enlightened office coffee lovers to delicious speciality coffee from Rwanda, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Coffees from these regions bought wonderful flavours of juicy plums, lots of chocolate and hints of honey and hazelnuts.
Over the next three months we are getting super ‘fruity’…. in the cup.
For January, I have selected a wonderful Kenyan AA coffee. Kenyan coffees are very well regarded in the industry as they are grown in a good climate, volcanic soil by cooperatives that are well managed and subsequently farmers who really care.
This month we find ourselves in the southern slopes of Mount Kenya in Kirinyaga District, Thunguri primary cooperative.
This cooperative has a total of 1025 active farmers delivering coffee and each smallholder farmer has roughly half an acre of coffee producing land, with around 270 trees. This means each tree can be cared for with immaculate attention to detail. As the picking method is by hand, each cherry is carefully selected eliminating any cherries that are not perfectly ripened to ensure consistency and quality.
The coffee then goes through a washed process.
So what does ‘washed process’ mean?
There are three main methods of coffee processing: washed, natural and pulp natural. A washed process encourages the coffee to be clean, bright, fruity and citrusy.
The coffee cherry is brought to the wet mill where it is then pulped (outermost fruit skin is removed). It is then put in water, (any floaters are removed) then the coffee is fermented, washed (to remove the remaining fruit) and dried on a patio, raised screen bed, or by using a mechanical dryer.
Meanwhile back here in the UK, at our roaster, we sample roast all our coffees to find the optimum roast profile for each coffee. With this Kenyan coffee we found ourselves roasting to a medium-light roast, this encourages the sweet fruity flavours to come through along with crisp citrus acidity. There can be a danger to light roasting where body and mouth-feel lack in the cup, however this coffee has lots of juicy attitude.
In the cup: juicy sweet blackcurrant and lemon acidity come through and complement each other from the first sip. That acidity slowly drifts away and tropical fruit flavours come through. This coffee finishes with incredibly juicy sweet notes that linger blissfully on the palate.