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Kigwandi decaf harnesses much of the original Kenya character, boasting a structured, citric acidity. It 'pops', balancing flavors of toasted and rustic sugars, as well as an aroma of green herb and grape. Flavors of orange oil, grapefruit skin, and barley tea come out as the cup cools. A complex decaf. City to Full City. SO espresso.
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, and Kigwandi became part of in 2003, after leaving Tetu, which it was allied since inception in 1982. The factory has a 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. We picked up both AB and AA selections this year, and decided to send a blend of the two to be decaffeinated at Swiss Water plant in Vancouver, BC (using AA's boosted the cost a bit, but was worth it!) It's the first straight Kenya we've decaf'd, and the results are quite nice, with acidity we're not used to tasting in decaf coffees. Swiss Water treatment uses no chemicals in the process, swelling the beans with water and extracting the caffeine, leaving behind much of the volatile compounds that effect flavor. An interesting decaf indeed, and with a profile uniquely African that stands out alongside South and Central America decaf coffees.
Kenyan coffees are known for bracing acidity and citrus notes, and this decaf version has retained much of these inherent cup characteristics. The dry fragrance has a faint smell of citrus peel, and toasting, caramelized sugars. There's a green herb note too, tarragon and basil, along with dark plum. The wet aroma shows intense sweetness, date sugar and fruit syrups, even a grape candy smell when edging roasts toward Full City. A seemingly "thick" aroma, this decaf harnesses much of the original Kenya characteristics. As a brewed coffee, intrinsic Kenyan cup notes are apparent, with a flavor of lemon black tea up front, followed by alternating notes of caramelized sugars. A real tartness cuts through the cup profile, a structuring acidity, and one that is uniquely Kenyan. Orange oil, lemonade, and grapefruit skin come out as the coffee cools. At both City and City+ roasts this Kenya decaf is very citrus focused, balancing out flavors of burned and rustic sugars, as well as a note of roasted barley tea. It's a decaf that is definitely on the "complex" end of the spectrum.