Berry and black currant fruit, malt syrup sweetness in the lighter roasts, caramel and chocolate roast hints in balance, sweet honey, floral violet accents, sweet tobacco aroma, and a bittering note that borders on "fresh leather" in the finish. Along with the marked brightness, this interesting finish elevates this to the level of a "tongue-twisting Kenya". City to Full City roast.
Kangunu Farmers Cooperative Society is located about 140 km North West of Nairobi in Murang'a North district of the Central Province. I had bought this coffee in the past, but we don't often focus on Murang'a lots because they are often a bit less dynamic in the cup than Nyeri region coffees. But the Murang'a area is a rich agricultural oasis on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains. Kangunu is at 1740 meters, endowed with rich volcanic soils that are deep, well drained and have much organic material; perfect for coffee. This was an outstanding coffee from last years crop, so we were hoping to find a great Kangunu again for 2011. In blind cupping, we did. This coffee was bought outside the auction, via the direct trade mechanism in Kenya, called oddly the "Second Window" because in fact it allows one to pull a coffee from the auction listings and buy it first! With this, you can negotiate a price with the coop that they are sure is better than anything possible in the auction. This purchase offers a direct reward to the cooperative for producing a great lot, and incentive to do it again, which we have 2 years running.
The fragrance from the dry grounds is boldly potent, with a strong cane sugar syrupy sweetness and berry-plum fruit notes. Adding hot water, the wet aroma has fruit juice character, caramel-vanilla extracts, Pannetone sweet bread, raisin, blackberry and that same bold sweetness. This coffee was pretty at every roast level I laid on it. Perhaps the lightest roast, a "cupping roast" that was light City level, was a bit grainy and tannic, but still had well-developed citric notes. At City+ to FC the berry and black currant fruit notes kick in. The cup has malt syrup sweetness in the lighter roasts, with caramel and chocolate roast hints in balance. As it cools there are sweet honey notes with floral violet accents. It's not all fruits and flowers, there is something aggressive about this cup too, suggested by the sweet tobacco aroma and rindy effect in the finish. Along with the marked brightness, this interesting finish elevates this to the level of a "tongue-twisting Kenya", a very complex and big coffee on the palate.