The Murang'a area is a rich agricultural oasis on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains. This coffee was amazing at every roast level: berry and black currant fruit, malt syrup sweetness in the lighter roasts, caramel and chocolate roast hints in balance, sweet honey, floral violet accents, sweet tobacco aroma, and a bittering note that borders on "fresh leather" in the finish. Along with the marked brightness, this interesting finish elevates this to the level of a "tongue-twisting Kenya", a very complex and big coffee on the palate. City to Full City roast.
Kangunu Farmers Cooperative Society is located about 140 km North West of Nairobi in Murang'a North district of the Central Province. I had bought this coffee in the past, but we don't often focus on Murang'a lots because they are often a bit less dynamic in the cup than Nyeri region coffees. But the Murang'a area is a rich agricultural oasis on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains. Kangunu is at 1740 meters, endowed with rich volcanic soils that are deep, well drained and have much organic material; perfect for coffee. This lot came to us in an unusual way; I was alerted by someone visiting the cupping lab in Nairobi that there was a stand-out coffee that some of the local cuppers were very excited about. I received a sample and wow, it was a fantastic Kenya. I was convinced so we formed a small group of 4 roasters to buy it through the direct trade mechanism in Kenya, called oddly the "Second Window", because in fact it allows one to pull a coffee from the auction listings and buy it first! With this, you can negotiate a price with the coop that they are sure is better than anything possible in the auction. And it was: I can't be 100% sure but at the time of the deal, this was the highest price paid for a Kenya coffee from the Main Harvest. This might not hold the record though, because prices were extremely high this year at auction too, but not this high. This purchase offers a direct reward to the cooperative for producing a great lot, and incentive to do it again. The fragrance from the dry grounds is boldly potent, loaded with raw cane sugar syrupy sweetness and berry fruit notes. Adding hot water, the wet aroma has fruit juice notes, caramel-vanilla extracts, dark blackberry and grape, that same bold sweetness, and a trace of sweet tobacco. This coffee was amazing at every roast level I laid on it. Perhaps the lightest roast, a "cupping roast" that was light City level, was a bit grainy and tannic, but still had well-developed citric notes. At City+ to FC the berry and black currant fruit notes kick in. The cup has malt syrup sweetness in the lighter roasts, with caramel and chocolate roast hints in balance. As it cools there are sweet honey notes with floral violet accents. It's not all fruits and flowers, there is something aggressive about this cup too, suggested by the sweet tobacco aroma, and a bittering note that borders on "fresh leather" in the finish. Along with the marked brightness, this interesting finish elevates this to the level of a "tongue-twisting Kenya", a very complex and big coffee on the palate.