Light roasts push raw sugar sweetness and highlight fruit drink notes like red punch, grape Kool Aid, and cherry cola. Tartaric brightness adds to the redolence of berry and grape in the cup. City to Full City.
Kiaguthu Factory is a washing station located in on the slopes of the Abedares mountain range in Neyri county. The station site sits at about 1800 meters above sea level, and acts as a collection site for member farmers in the surrounding hills to deliver their coffee for processing and export. Factories are effectively cooperatives, in that they're run by a member-appointed committee. Farmers in the region grow mainly Sl-28 and SL-34, with small amounts of Ruiru mixed in, and farms reach as high as 2000 meters above sea level. Kiaguthu is one of several coffees we picked up from Othaya Farmer's Cooperative Society (FCS), an FCS that includes an impressive amount of wet mills, 18 in all, dating back to the late 1950s. Coffee is kept processed and kept separate by day or even weekly deliveries at the factory in order to identify quality. The separated batches are then run through screens in order to separate beans by size, the most common being AA (17-19 screen), AB (15-17 screen), and Peaberry. These are called "outturns". This lot is a peaberry outturn, a genetic defect of sorts, where only one seed receives nourishment, growing into a single, round bean. These are often quite dense, which means they can handle a bit more heat in the roaster than their flat bean counterparts. I found this coffee to achieve fairly even coloring when roasting, even at light roasts, making it fairly easy to judge roast development.
I cup tested Kiaguthu next to one of our washed Ethiopian coffees, which made for an interesting contrast. Both boasted unique fruit and floral sweetness. But unlike the more refined, almost tea-like quality of the Ethiopia, the Kenya really pushed fruited intensity and sweetness levels to the outer edges. Aromatically, it has a saturated, sweetened-fruit smell of apricot fruit roll ups, and the richness of brown sugar reducing with fresh fruit and cream, such a killer set of smells that lead up to a complex cup of coffee. Big fruit notes like ripe red berry command your attention, standing out from this coffee's core bittersweet coffee base in City to Full City roasting. At City there are flavor notes that remind me of artificially flavored fruit drinks like red fruit punch, grape Kool Aid, and the sort. The cooling cup showing a lovely cherry note that brings to mind cherry cola. It's difficult to moderate those fruited tones with roast too, and at Full City, a grape-like undercurrent flourishes, along with juicy fruited sweetness, all laced with a bittering cocoa flavor in the wings, and convincing raw sugar sweetness. We found that Kiaguthu pushed moderate acidity level across the City to Full City roast spectrum too, a tartaric brightness that adds to the redolence of berry and grape in the cup.