This batch of Kenya is a traditional double-washed coffee from Embu, produced by smallholder farmers organized around the Ngurueri Factory (wet mill), which is managed by the Murue Farmers Co-operative Society.
The flavor profile is citrusy, spiced, and complex in its sweetness with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, orange, and honey.
Grower - 1050 smallholder farmers organized around the Ngurueri Factory
Cultivar - SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian
Region - Kianjokoma, Embu County, Kenya
Harvest - October 2021 – January 2022
Elevation - 1700 - 1900 masl
Process - Double washed: Pulped, fermented, washed, and soaked for twelve hours. Dried on raised beds.
Cinnamon, Honey, Vanilla and Orange
We roasted this batch of Kenya to a full medium roast. Depending on the grind and brewing method, this Kenya Kianjokoma Ngurueri Crown Jewel can produce flavors of citrus, spice, complex sweetness with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, orange, and honey.
As with most Top-Shelf coffees, we suggest using the pour-over method to maximized the aroma and flavor of this Crown Jewel coffee using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio with the water between 200F and 205F. Once grounds are placed in the filter, pre-soak grounds by covering with water for ~30sec to allow for blooming, then finish with either a steady pour or a couple of short pours to complete the brewing process.
By Chris Kornman, Royal Coffee
An unusual mix of flavors, this coffee from Embu county’s Ngurueri factory stopped the show with its lively acidity, strong spice characteristics, and complex sweetness.
Did we taste citrus in this Kenya? Yes, of course, but that’s hardly the whole story. Lemon, grapefruit and orange all made appearances on our cupping notes, but there’s much more to explore here.
Our barista team made a full meal out of this coffee, walking it through multiple brew methods to test its limits. Certain extraction profiles favored cinnamon and cardamom notes, while others turned up flavors of earl grey tea, peach, and sweet basil.
Ultimately, though, it was the sweeter brews that really stuck with us, showcasing elegant vanilla-floral characteristics and generous reminders of honey and brown sugar.
Producer / Source Background
By Charlie Habegger, Royal Coffee
Ngurueri “factory,” or washing station, is located near the town of Kianjokoma in Embu county, one of central Kenya’s smaller counties that shares part of the vast outer forests of Mt. Kenya, along with Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties to the west—two of Kenya’s most famous for quality. Individual farmers in these fertile foothills average 250 coffee trees each, and half-acre plots per family.
The Ngurueri processing station, or “factory”, as they’re known in Kenya, is one of three sites managed by the Murue Farmer Cooperative Society (FCS), an umbrella organization that centralizes management and marketing relationships for their member factories. Murue FCS has 3 additional factories under its management: Kianyangi, Kavutiri, and Gituara.
Kenya is of course known for some of the most meticulous at-scale processing that can be found anywhere in the world. Bright white parchment, nearly perfectly sorted by density and bulk conditioned at high elevations is the norm, and a matter of pride, even for generations of Kenyan processing managers who prefer drinking Kenya’s tea (abundantly farmed in Muranga county) to its coffee. Ample water supply in the central growing regions has historically allowed factories to wash, and wash, and soak, and wash their coffees again entirely with fresh, cold river water. Conservation is creeping into the discussion in certain places–understandably in the drier areas where water, due to climate change, cannot be as taken for granted—including at Murue FCS where 2 years ago all factories replaced their disc pulpers with “ecopulpers”, models which use far less water to depulp and clean parchment.
At Ngurueri, cherry is hand-sorted for ripeness and floated for density before accepted and depulped each day. Fermentation occurs overnight, after which the coffee is washed in long cement grading channels, where it is agitated with fresh water and allowed to separate by density, producing 4 final grades of clean parchment. The coffee is then dried over a period of 9-15 days on raised beds, which are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control for optimal drying.
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