While we find ourselves locating great quality coffee from the same wet-mill sources in Kenya, it's pleasant when a new name crops up on the cupping table, associated with an outstanding cup. That's the case this year with this lot of Githiga AA, part of the Kanyenya-ini Farmers Cooperative Society ("FCS"). It hails from the Murang'a district in Kenya's Central Province, not an area we normally look to for our coffees. Githiga currently has just under 1000 small farmer members, the average number of trees being 250 (like most Kenya small-holders, much more akin to "gardens" than farms). The average altitude in the highlands surrounding the washing station are approximately 1700 meters above sea level, and farmers benefit from the fertile soil on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountain Range. Farmers deliver their harvested whole coffee cherry to the station where it is pulped, fermented/washed, and then laid out to dry on raised African drying beds. Defective beans are hand-sorted all along the way to improve cup consistency and overall cleanliness. This is an AA separation, meaning, all of the beans from a particular day's processing that are 17 screen in size or larger (in general 17 - 19 screen, which is the larges Kenya grade). Being a larger bean, if you have manual heat control on your roaster, they tend to benefit from a slightly extended roast time before hitting first crack. This way you ensure that the internal roast level more closely resembles the exterior roast level.
Githiga has a delicate mix of unrefined cane sugar sweetness and fruit tones, with a floral tea 'nose' in the cup. The dry fragrance is highlighted by a cranberry/orange smell at City roast level, deeper roasts taking on hues of dark berry and grape jelly. Lighter roasting shows gentle tea suggestions in the wet aroma, elderberry and chamomile tea come to mind. Our roast at the inside edge of Full City showed much 'bigger' fruit expressions, playing out as such in the cup as well. Brewing a City+ roast, tropical fruit flavors come to mind, which add highlights to a dense undercurrent of bittersweet burned sugars. Mango, blood orange, and passion fruit juice build in strength as the cup cools (maracuya comes to mind, a passion fruit common to many Latin American countries). The cup is intense, a citric brightness pulsates through the cup, lemonade-like and providing a mouth-cleansing aspect in the finish. Full City develops dark berry and raw cacao nib notes, along with a pungent date sugar sweetness that intensifies in the finish. This is a Kenya that fairs quite well in the middle roast range, and I personally preferred our City+/Full City roasts to the lightest City we tasted. Perhaps because it's a large bean AA, but the sweetness get a marked boost a shade beyond City, and the interplay of fine cacao flavors and tangy citrus and berry notes is also tops as you near Full City.