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Kenya AA Meru

April 13, 2005

This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.

Overall this coffee, from the Meru growing region along the slopes of Mt. Kenya, is one of the finer Kenyan coffees we've come across, this season. We roasted it light for formal cupping and brewing, and to the first pops of the second to explore its other qualities.

In the roaster, just at first crack, a floral aroma makes itself known that portends of good things to come. It's worth getting your face into the smoke; this one smells nice. In the cup, this is a medium-low-acid coffee with a medium body, more reminiscent of a really exceptional PNG than a Kenyan. Roasted light, the typical Kenyan lemon flavor is readily apparent but does not throw the profile out of balance, even as it cools. Breaking the crust reveals strong citrus that turns into sweet orange as the cup cools. Accompanying the citrus is spice and a hint of walnuts. A cappuccino using the light roasted beans was a treat, with fruit and nuts cutting through the milk, and a vac pot brew was equally enjoyable.

At a darker roast there are strong blackberry and cinnamon aromas and flavor, amazing sweetness and a few woody/peaty distillate notes that clashed with the desert-in-a-cup theme, especially in the finish; so a lighter city roast would probably be better for brewing.

As espresso, this is extremely well balanced for single origin shots, with plenty of sweetness. Amazingly, it would even work at a slightly lighter roast, since the roasty cinnamon flavors outweighed the fruit at a 92C pulling temperature. The finish is nicer here than brewed, sort of like a cinnamon breath freshener.

For blend recommendations, this coffee might do well with a chocolaty brazil and some DP yemen/ethiopians for a smooth low toned espresso (the ethiopians will be the high note!). Indos are not required, since this coffee works more like a PNG for blending purposes.

Bobs Score
Dry Fragrance (1-5): 4.7
Wet Aroma (1-5): 4.4
Flavor/Taste/Depth (1-10): 7.8
Finish/Aftertaste (1-10): 7.8
Brightness/Acidity (1-10): 7.7
Body/Movement/Mouth-Feel (1-10): 7.3
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 89.7

Jim's Score
Aroma: 9.5
Flavor: 9.5
Finish: 8.0
Acidity: 8.5
Body: 9.0

  • Lighter Roasts: Citrusy with hints of walnut cooling to sweet orange as it cools.
  • Darker Roasts: Blackberry and cinnamon emerge at full city, with distillate notes taking over at darker roasts.
  • As Espresso: Well balanced and sweet with roasty cinnamon flavors outweighing the fruit.


UPDATED: June 27, 2005