Roast House Kenya Karimikui AA

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

Roast House Coffee has been popping up in my Instagram feed for a long time, and after putting our heads together, I was able to score a few bags of their coffee to share with you! This morning I’m starting with their limited release Kenya Karimikui AA. Slurp!

Roast House Coffee

Purchase this coffee directly for $12/8oz

Article from the Spokesman-Review


Roast House Coffee was established in Spokane, Washington in 2010 by Deborah Di Bernardo. The goal of the company was to source the best coffees, often organic, and to be very engaged in their community. With a cafe and busy roasting operation in Spokane, Roast House has developed a great reputation in the Spokane area and beyong for accomplishing both! Roast House offers a lot of blends and single origin coffees, from their White (barely roasted) to a variety of dark roasts, which I’ll need to try to get my hands on in the winter when dark roasts beckon to me from out in the cold, frozen plains of Kansas! LOL

Today’s coffee is Roast House’s Kenya Karimikui AA, which is a limited release offering that I think I’m getting a preview of because it’s not listed on their website yet. (Now available for $12/8oz!) Keep your eyes peeled! I’ve reviewed a couple other Karimikuis in the past, so comb the search feature if you want to find those. As is the case in most African countries, coffee farms are often very small and so the farmers work together and pool their resources in co-ops. These cooperatives collect coffee at harvest time from hundreds, if not thousands of farmers, sort the cherries, process the coffee and collect it into lots for sale in Kenya’s auction system. Karimikui is on of the coffee washing stations of the Rugento Farmers Cooperative Society in the town of Embu. Karimikui has a great reputation for quality. As is the custom in Kenya, coffee is sorted by size, with AA beans being the largest, hence that designation in the name of this coffee.

This is a washed coffee consisting of the classic Kenyan varieites SL-28 and SL-34. These are grown around 1750masl and Roast House gives us tasting notes of, “Pink grapefruit, caramel, rose.” I used my standard pourover setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino with Kalita filters. My Handground grinder was set to 3 and I used Third Wave Water in my preparation.

I feel like it has been a long time (did a search and it was three months ago since I had my last one!) since I had a Kenyan coffee and so I’m pretty stoked to try this one out. This is a light roast although, visually, the beans had a nice, rich brown color and they were easy to grind. Classic Kenyan aroma from this cup… a little tomato in the nose and that citrusy, fruity vibe that most Kenyan coffees put out in the aroma. Promises of good things to come! This is an interesting coffee… there is a lot of “classic Kenyan” acidity and brightness in the sip but a healthy amount of roast notes along with it, too. Very interesting!

I’d call this a medium-bodied coffee with a somewhat tea-like, slightly astringent mouthfeel on my tongue. The early sip has a lot of grapefruit notes both in the sweetness as well as the bright acidity. This is definitely a bright coffee, but not bracing or overly aggressive, to my palate. I get some lemon candy notes in the acidity, too. Holding the coffee in my mouth for a little bit longer before swallowing really brings up the lemon notes in the acidity and it’s really delicious! What I find interesting is there is a pretty apparent roast quality to the cup, too, mostly on the front end of the sip. It’s unusual to get such a light and bright acidity and those deeper caramelized notes at the same time and I quite like it! There’s a wisp of floral notes in this cup, too, very fleeting so I wouldn’t bank Roast House’s “rose” suggestion on my palate, but mid-sip there is definitely a hint of flowers and a perfumed quality apparent. With the rose suggestion on the label, I definitely get that note, but I am not sure if I would call rose on my own without the call out on the label. As the cup cools the acidity gets even more forward.

This is a really delicious coffee. It seems lighter in mouthfeel and intensity than a lot of the Kenyan coffees I remember, so it doesn’t sit on my palate as heavily or “drill in” as aggressively as Kenyan coffees often can. At the same time, there is an extra complexity to this cup with the floral aspects flitting around the roasty notes and that delightful grapefruit and lemon candy acidity. This is a really nice, unique Kenyan coffee, in my book. It has the hallmarks of what makes Kenyan coffee aficionados crave coffees from that country, but at the same time it’s rather different in its overall presentation of those elements. A very encouraging introduction to Roast House’s coffees and I’m eager to get into the rest of them!