This is an exciting time to live in Kansas City, especially as a food and drink aficionado. Kansas City is truly the jewel of the Midwest and this collaboration coffee between two local micro-roasters really shows off what is going on in this city in food and art.
Taking some major cues from the craft beer industry, where limited editions and collaboration efforts have been transforming that business landscape for years, Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters and Blip Roasters have joined forces to release a unique collaboration coffee. Their goal is to not only produce an excellent coffee but also to celebrate the spirit of collaboration (we’re nice people here in the Midwest!) and highlight both the visual and beverage crafts emerging from Kansas City.
As such, there are two other collaborators in this project. Summer House Films, who have produced several other short films for Thou Mayest, filmed the project and put together a nice short embedded below. And, of course, you can’t put special coffee in the same ol’ packaging, so Kansas City’s Survival Letterpress put together awesome boxes, bags and cards for this collaboration. I feel like this is basically a project designed around me because in addition to being the KC Coffee Geek I am also a big time fountain pen and printing/graphic design nerd! Kansas City has a long, rich tradition of letterpress printing and Survival did an amazing job on the packaging.
You’ll be able to buy this coffee for $20 from both Thou Mayest in the Crossroads Arts District and Blip Roasters in the West Bottoms. It releases on Friday, June 5, and that just also happens to be First Friday and both the Bottoms and Crossroads are going to be off the chain, so buy some coffee, walk the galleries and enjoy what is sure to be an awesome evening in KC!
Let’s talk about the coffee first! I was lucky enough to get an pre-release sample, roasted the same day, on 5/29/15 so I could get this review written before the June 5th release date. The coffee is a 50/50 blend of a Kenyan roasted by Thou Mayest and a Guatemalan from Blip.
The Kenyan coffee is from the Muiri Estate (which uses organic farming practices, a rarity in Kenya) and consists of SL28, SL34, K7 and Ruiru 11 varietals. I wonder if this isn’t the same coffee that I reviewed from Bean Fruit Coffee Company recently? In any case, the elevation is given as 1530masl and the tasting notes for this component read, “A delicate, but commanding balance. Subtle, crisp tangerine notes, with a lasting, chocolate syrup finish.”
Blip’s Guatemalan component comes from Cooperative Lake Atitlan, consisting of Bourbon and Caturra varietals grown at a soaring 1774-1800masl. They suggest this coffee is, “floral and fruity, lingering cocoa finish.”
I prepared my samples of this coffee using my usual 15:1 ratio in the Gino dripper as a pourover. I was getting about 3:45 total extraction times, not including a relatively short bloom to start things out. The aroma on the freshly brewed cup was sugary and sweet, with notes of honey and milk chocolate. Yum!
My first sip was bright and fruity and but not overly acidic. It seemed relatively restrained, which I imagine is from some balance achieved by blending these two coffees. The body was medium and round and there were floral notes in the finish. As the cup cooled the mouthfeel reminded me a little of milk and had some of a lactose sweetness quality to it, too.
The acidity on this coffee had some similarities with grapefruit for me, but it wasn’t as harsh or edgy. The acidity was refreshing and lifted all the flavors rather than being tart or biting. I picked up hints of apple in the high notes of this coffee, too.
This is a nice coffee. It’s complex, layered and restrained yet pleasurable and easy to drink. I think Blip and Thou Mayest did a great job on the coffee itself and the packaging, featured below, complements this coffee perfectly!
Survival Letterpress hit the ball out of the park on this one! The outer box features side panels with the logos, mission statements and contact information for Blip on one side and Thou Mayest on the other. The main front and back panels feature a logo designed specifically for this project superimposed over lighter printing. What you may initially see as a random pattern of lines is actually a street map of Kansas City, which is just a fantastic idea! Even better, one main panel features the logo over a map of the Crossroads district and Midtown, a small red star marking the location of Thou Mayest, while the other panel features the streets of the West Bottoms and the same red star marking Blip. The box is great!
The bag inside is a standard kraft brown coffee bag with a description of the coffee, a beautifully pressed logo and the roast date. A letterpressed card featuring the logos of all four companies and some information about the project and the idea behind it ties everything together.
I can’t say enough about the quality of this project and I would love to see more of the same. Hopefully this becomes a series featuring different Kansas City roasters working together to elevate the city’s position on the country’s coffee map!