Complex flavor profile with intense brightness and dark fruits, intense syrupy sweetness and mouthfeel, grape fruits and related grape-like tartaric acidity, weighty sweetness, black currant, caramel, malt syrup, balanced and yet still very intense. City+ to Full City.
Gaturiri Coffee Factory is a cooperative wet mill just up in the foothills from Karatina town. Karatina is the epicenter for coffee production in Nyeri, Kenya's Central Highland coffee capital. There are very few coffee producing areas on this planet with such a concentration of phenomenal coffees as Karatina is responsible for. Outside of possibly Kochere in Yirgacheffe I don't know that I'd say there is another. Within the Karatina producing community itself Gaturiri is one of the more fabled cooperatives. You can see what we're getting at here. Lots from this wet mill are some of the very best in the world year and year out. Thompson can I can attest to that fact as we've both been buying Gaturiri lots for more years collectively than we can remember. Why? There are a combination of factors that come into play with the quality at Gaturiri and with Kenya's Central Highlands in general. 1) the varietals; SL28 and SL34. Both varietals were once hybrids created by Scot Laboratories in Thika, Kenya before being developed into the naturalized varietals that they are now. Both are descendants of the French Mission lineage that can be traced to Bourbon. Both are producers of phenomenal quality. 2) the processing. Kenya's processing technique is the most detailed and thorough in the trade. Coffee beans go through a litany of quality stages separating their density, washing solids as well as multiple drying stage to maximize their potential from that end. If there is one single idea to take away from Kenyan processing though I'd say that what we experience as tasters from Kenyan coffees are the cleanest expressions of the bean itself. The parchment is pristinely white meaning that zero solids are left to interfere with the flavor profile within the structure of the bean. Gaturiri has great altitude and ideal weather conditions to go along with the varietals and processing. More importantly, it has outstanding leadership. Ngatia Kanyoge has been at the helm of the cooperative for the past two years steering these producers into their most successful era. The focus on cherry selection is impeccable as Ngatia and the producers know well that this is what separates them from the pack.
I, personally, have spent several weeks of my Novembers and Decembers the past 6 years dedicated to working with the cooperative, influencing quality and selecting the very best lots from the central part of the harvest. My relationship with Ngatia and Co is easily my strongest in the country. Coffee Shrub and Sweet Maria's offer the finest coffees that Gaturiri has to offer. If bright, sweet, dark fruit laden coffees are what you look for from Kenya, as we do, look no further.
Gaturiri is a "big" coffee in every sense of the word, and its intensely sweet, fruited profile, easily justifies the high score. The sweetness of the dry fragrance from this Gaturiri is evident from across the room when I grind it. What a great smell! It has fruit and floral aspects, but mainly it possesses a succulence note, that is sweet and moist like gingerbread or root beer cake. The wet aromatics are savory like miso soup but also have a ripe, dark fruit quality like blackberry or even concord grape. Gaturiri seems to produce my (aleco) perennial favorite lots from Kenya and it has to do with their intrinsic completeness. These coffees have everything - heavy, juicy mouth feel, intense sweetness, a cornucopia of fruits and all the necessary cleanliness to perceive these flavors with relative ease. This year is no different. The flavor profile ranges from dark fruit flavors like blackberry and concord grape juice to cranberry and sweet lemonade. A heavy creaminess in both flavor and mouth feel mesh perfectly with the fruit in both the City and Full City roasts. Although those ripe fruit notes persist through the profile its the sweet toffee and brown sugar notes that are most apparent in the finish. Without getting too carried away I'd parlay its presence in the cup to that of some of the finer Bordeaux wines in the glass.