Kigwandi Factory is a part of Mutheka FCS (Farmers Cooperative Society), located in Mukaro, Nyeri, just east of the Aberdare mountains. Mutheka has 6 cooperative member groups, which Kigwandi joined in 2003, after leaving Tetu, which it was allied with since inception in 1982. The factory has coffee cherry catchment and washing station in the area where local farmers (growing altitudes range from 1700 to 1800 meters), who are members of the cooperative, delivery coffee cherry for regional bulking. The coffee is washed, fermented, and laid out on raised beds to dry. The coffee is sorted all along the way, down to the dry milling, and separated by factory out turns. Usually you only see AA, AB, and PB, but there are other lower grades too, like C and TT. This AA out turn proved to be the best of the bunch that we cupped during the harvest. "AA" signifies screen size, the largest at 17 - 19 microns in size. Though not always an indicator of quality, AAs command a higher price, and so sorting expectations are generally higher as well. The sort of this lot is very nice, some nicks which tends to happen due to the large size of the beans as they pass through the milling equipment, but not much else.
Kigwandi delights from the get go, raw honey and maple sugar smells released when grinding the coffee, along with citrus, herbal tea, and vanilla intimations. The wet aromatics build on this with a scent of pomelo citrus (alluding to a tartness) and a surprisingly floral cane juice smell. We found the aroma and flavor best in the City - City+ range, where complex cup flavors are woven together by instense citric acidity. Hitting the roast "sweet spot", the cup has a nice flavor of pink grapefruit dusted with cane sugar, a sweet but puckering effect. There're complex bittering tones too, like caramelizing sugars, and bergamot citrus, along with a nice tart cranberry note. The finish is a bit 'snappy', harkening back to the grapefruit sensed up front, and bringing the cup full circle, fading to brisk black tea note in the long finish. Brewed coffee shines in the City to City+ roast range, and those in search of a high toned cup will revel in the acidity level found in this range. Bringing to Full City tones this down a couple notches in volume, however, is nowhere near "flat". Expect bittersweet roast tones and citric highs to come off like orange and dark chocolate, the edge of City/C+ rounded off, and with a long and intense fruited cocoa finish.