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Kiamabara is one of the "factories", or wet-processing mills, that is part of the Mugaga cooperative cluster. This coffee reads like a concentrated form of other Kenyas from earlier in the season, brighter, but with similar vanilla-like notes as well. Orange marmalade and apricot jam are the fruited sweet flavors in the cup, at City+ roast: black currant and darker fruits providing an underlying layer. Lighter City roasts finish with peach flavor and a light hazelnut tone. City to Full City roast.
Kiamabara is one of the "factories", or wet-processing mills, that is part of the Mugaga cooperative cluster. Coops are called "societies" in Kenya. Kiamabara was one of the stars of our Kenya line-up in '09, with the Peaberry and the fancier AA lot coming in amazing. On returning to Kenya the second time in late 2009, I made sure to spend a full day with the Mugaga coop officers, and see the coffee harvest in full swing at their factories. Kiamabara was just starting to be harvested, since Nyeri is picked a bit later than the lower and larger farms of Kiambu, Embu, Ruiru, Etc. I visited some of the small-holder farmers to see the coffee on the trees, as well as the factory itself to see parchment coffee drying on the beds. One of the main factors that elevate the quality of Kenya coffees is the fact that the pickers harvest selectively, then, before they turn their coffee in at the mill, re-sort the cherry again, removing under-ripes and over-ripes. It's a critical step, and one you can taste in the cup. We had both an AA and a PB lot from Kiamabara; this is the later. There's a balanced and slightly muted aromatic in the dry fragrance, with vanilla sweetness, floral hints and orange tea. The wet aroma has fruited notes, red currant, baked peaches, and fairly mild overall compared to other Kenya microlots. But on the break it sparks to life with stone fruit sweetness, slightly winey Syrah-like fruits, and a spicy cinnamon accent. This coffee reads like a concentrated form of other Kenyas from earlier in the season, brighter, but with similar vanilla-like notes as well. Orange marmalade and apricot jam are the fruited sweet flavors in the cup, but at City+ roast there is a black currant note representing darker fruits providing an underlying layer. The lightest City roast finishes with peach flavor and a light hazelnut tone. It's a very high-toned coffee at City roast level and works well through City+, but I would not go too dark with it. Full City is acceptable but I feel you lose some of the character of the cup as you eclipse it with darker roast notes. By the way, you can lower the perceived acidity of a Kenya in the cup if you brew it a bit strong and for a shorter steep time, then add hot water to dilute to taste. It's an interesting experiment; try it!