Monroe Coffee Roasters // Kenya Thiriku
This coffee comes from the Thiriku Farmers Co-op Society, which is located at 1890 meters above sea level within Karagia in the District of Nyeri, Kenya. The cooperative is made up of 2300 members led by society chairman Mr. Erustus Mathenge. The cooperative supports its members through advances for school fees, farm input, and other emergencies, as well as provides training opportunities for factory managers and farmers.
Each member has an average of 200 coffee trees (to put that in perspective, one coffee tree typically produces a half pound of roasted coffee per year). The farmers grow coffee among a mix of tea, maize, and false bananas, and the coffee is shaded by gravellea, macadamia, and eucalyptus trees. Coffee grown in Thiriku is a mix of SL 28 and SL 34 varieties, and this lot is made up of top grade AB beans. Nyeri is home to the extent Mount Kenya volcano, and the combination of the area’s red volcanic loam soils with high altitudes on the equator create some of the best coffees in Kenya. This Thiriku is a nice example of the characteristic bright and juicy coffee this region is known for.
This already great coffee is enhanced further by Kenya’s meticulous processing methods. The farmers harvest the coffee by hand, and then the coffee is processed at the cooperative’s factory. The beans are de-pulped and then undergo a longer fermentation time, up to 72 hours. The coffee is sun-dried slowly on raised beds. Once graded, the coffee is vacuum packaged for shipping.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Kenya Thiriku, from Monroe Coffee Roasters in Wichita, Kansas, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Nyeri, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Thiriku Farmers Co-op Society
elevation: 1850 meters above sea level
varieties: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Kenya Thiriku is absolutely divine; it is precisely what I hope for in an exquisite Kenyan coffee: bright and vibrant while perfumed and nuanced, with wonderful scents of mixed berries, honey, and flowers.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by a beautifully full-bodied coffee with a vibrant, buoyant mouthfeel. The coffee is lively with some tart fruit flavors, but not overwhelmingly so; I’m also tasting a nice coating of dark chocolate ganache, dark berry jelly, and honey.
As the cup cools off, the coffee’s liveliness really amplfies. Incredibly tart lemon rhubarb pie (and an almost equally tart cherry) comes rushing to the forefront of every sip, almost completely overtaking the profile. There is, however, just enough of that honeyed sweetness from up front to keep the coffee from being too one-dimensional (and to save it from being undrinkable; without the sweet, this coffee’s tartness might very well have been too overwhelming).
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; tartartic acidity; dry finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I’ve had my eyes on Monroe Coffee Roasters for a little while now and I’m happy to report that their debut here at the Table did not disappoint. Rather, it impressed me so much it nearly rendered me breathless.
Their Kenya Thiriku was a divine cupping experience. It was everything I look for in a tremendous Kenyan coffee—fruity, sweet, tart, floral… Further, it was a tremendously balanced coffee while still managing to go to extremes: it was elegant and it was exciting; it had soft, round edges but a sharp, pointed acidity; it was buoyant, supple, and full-bodied while still being juicy and light in the belly; it was a coffee that I couldn’t get enough of while being a coffee that I wanted to experience as slowly as possible so that I didn’t run out of it.
More important than all of that, though, it was a damn fine, very tasty coffee.
*content provided by Monroe Coffee Roasters