A Tale of Two Kenyans: Chapter 1

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H+S Kenya Nyeri Karogoto bagsI make the best friends through Instagram, and H+S Coffee Roasters reached out to me recently to review some of their coffees. I haven’t had any Wyoming coffee (not that it’s grown there, of course!) so I was excited! When I opened the box I was greeted by two bags of Kenyan coffee simply labeled “Kenya Nyeri Karogoto 1” and “Kenya Nyeri Karogoto #2.” There was am accompanying note stating that one of the coffees spent 30 seconds longer in the yellow stage than the other and what I took as a challenge, “Can you tell the difference?”

Game on! I’ll share as many experiments as I can until these samples are done.

I only have 4 ounces of each to play with, so the reasonable place to start was with cupping them. I used 8.3g of coffee in each bowl and poured 150g of water. I steeped for 4 minutes and then broke the crust, got what aromas I could, and proceeded to slurp n’ spit a lot of coffee over the next 10 minutes!

Now, big caveat here… I know these are different roasts, unless H+S are just screwing with me, that is! So, I’m taking these comparisons with a big grain of salt and so should you.

I treated this cupping a bit like the triangulation cupping I did at Workbench Coffee Labs last week, looking less for flavors and more for comparisons/contrasts between the two. From my notes that I took, I felt like #1 was easier to grind than #2 was (I used a hand grinder) which if I’m right would go along with a more developed roast and a softer bean.

H+S Kenya Nyeri Karogoto cupsThe dry aroma of #2 seemed “darker” somehow. In the wet aroma, I felt like I was getting a lot of mint character off both cups, slightly more in #2 than #1. The crust at the top of the cup was certainly different, but that may’ve been more my water pouring than the coffee itself.

In the aromas after I broke the crust, #1 seemed to be mintier and have more going on… I can’t say what, but just more. The aroma from #2 seemed more chocolatey and less complex.

The coffees definitely looked different. #1 looked darker in color while #2 had a red tint, was lighter and also had more oil on the surface. Now I understand why Workbench Coffee Labs had us under red lights during the triangulation cupping!

For as much as I pointed out, though, realistically, I’m not sure I would be able to tell a whole lot of difference in these coffees if I wasn’t looking, hard, for those differences. But, we’ll see. Chapter 2 we’ll prepare an inverted AeroPress of each coffee and see what happens in an actual brewed cup.

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  1. […] stage of roasting than the other. Talk about a tough challenge! I wrote about those experiences here and here. Today’s review is of yet another Kenyan coffee they sent me, their Nyeri Kiruga […]