On the eastern side of the Aberdares mountain ranges in Nyeri County, Kenya, operates the Othaya Farming Cooperative Society. The Othaya FCS is comprised of around 14,000 members who bring their coffees to one of 19 established wet mills, while the cooperative also has its own dry mill where coffees are sorted and graded for export. Coffees from this county are prized around the world for their distinct and intense flavors, contributed by the volcanic soil and knowledgable processing practices.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Gichichi, from Gimme! Coffee in Ithaca, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Nyeri, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society
elevation: 1796 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11
process: double 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 Kenyan coffee is pretty mild; there’s nothing about it that I find particularly enthralling or engaging; but its scents of purple flowers and mixed berries is pleasant.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by the prototypical Kenya profile: medium body, winy texture, honeyed sweetness, tropical fruit tartness, and floral aromatics. Up front there are flavors of raw honey and cocoa powder that lay down a foundation and juicy berries that gush in over the top, creating that winy mouthfeel.
As the cup cools off, the coffee fleshes out a bit more, showing some interesting tropical fruit and floral nuances. While blackberry, currant, and raspberry remain the predominant fruit flavors, I’m also tasting some flashes of peach, apple, sour cherry, and kiwi while lilac and bergamot play out in the finish.
Medium body; winy mouthfeel; berry acidity; clean finish.
As far as Kenyan coffees go, I have to admit, Gimme! Coffee’s Kenya Gichichi left a bit to be desired. I mean—it was a fine enough coffee, I certainly didn’t dislike it; it was just a little flat.
This coffee played it safe, splitting the difference between “wildly complex” and “subtly complex” and settling on “pretty straightforward.” It has flashes of brilliance and it has nuances of delicacy, but overall it’s fairly mild. I don’t mean to say that the coffee was boring, but I was a little underwhelmed.
Chalk it up either high expectations or high hopes, but following 2014—the year when most of the Kenyan coffees I tried were off the charts—I felt a tad let down by this offering.
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