Barista Coffee Box sent me one of their boxes recently, featuring Big Shoulders Coffee from Chicago, IL. I started off with their Kenya Kirinyaga Kainamui AA, a coffee I reviewed from another roaster about a month ago. Let’s check it out!
Buy this coffee directly for $12/12oz SOLD OUT
BIG SHOULDERS COFFEE KENYA KIRINYAGA KAINAMUI AA
You can’t throw a rock without hitting a coffee subscription these days, so the ones that succeed are the ones who have something a little different to offer. In the case of Barista Box, you receive four 2-oz packets of different coffees from the same roaster every month. This is cool because you get to try multiple selections, and for someone who drinks a different coffee almost every day, this is great! As a quick aside, Barista Box is offering 50% off your first box right now, too. Use the promo code “justonebox50” and save some $$!
Big Shoulders Coffee founder, Tim Coonan, started out like so many people in coffee, with a roaster in a garage. Around 2011-2012, he opened Big Shoulders Coffee just off the Blue Line stop at 1105 W. Chicago Ave. and the company has been growing since. In late 2015 he signed a lease for a second location to serve as a roastery and the company also has a location in the hip Hotel Felix. The roaster also sells beans to area retailers like Whole Foods and Target (in 85 stores!). To give you an idea, when Big Shoulders started out, they were roasting 150 pounds of coffee per week and as of 2015 they were over 3,000 pounds per week! 1 Oh yeah, plus they have a cool, big red coffee truck for mobile events!
This coffee is unfortunately sold out, and for good reason. It tastes awesome! I had the same coffee roasted by Indiana’s S&W Craft Roasting in December and I enjoyed their version of it, too. This is a washed selection consisting of SL28, SL34 and Ruiru 11 varieties grown in the 1700-1800masl range by the New Ngariama Farmers Co-operative Society. This was a really orange juicy cup of coffee, for me. I used my standard 1:16 pourover ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper and using a Handground grinder set on 3.5. For most of this cup, there was a lot of orange juice acidity, sweet, soft and round yet giving nice brightness to this heavy-bodied cup, too. I got hints of tomato at warmer temperatures, something not uncommon with Kenyan coffees. Into the second half of the sip I had some chocolatey notes that quickly gave way to a spicy, orange peel finish and long aftertaste of cooking spices and orange zest.
I found this coffee to be really sweet and juicy. The orange acidity took on a slightly more grapefruity vibe as the coffee cooled toward room temp, but it remained sweet, balanced, round and delicious. I really liked this coffee for its “softness” when it was roasted by S&W, too, and while I enjoy a bright, bracing Kenyan coffee from time to time, these ones that are balanced and sweet are major crowd pleasers! No wonder it sold out!