Blueprint Coffee Karimikui AA Top

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Blueprint Karimikui 3Today’s coffee comes from Blueprint Coffee in St. Louis. They hooked me up with this bag Karimikui AA Top after I visited their cafe a few weeks ago. I had this coffee at home as well as in the cafe and I ended up enjoying it more at home. I’m not sure if that was because of some age on the beans or the different preparation method. In any case, this coffee retailed for $20.50/12oz bag (it is sold out currently) and this was the second time they have sold Karimikui, so I would expect this to be a go-to coffee for Blueprint every year, as long as the coffee holds up for their green buyer.

This coffee comes from the Kirinyaga region of Kenya and consists of K7 and SL28 varietals. This is a washed coffee and the washing station it comes from is one of three wet mills owned by the large (3,500 members) Rung’eto Cooperative. These beans are grown in the altitude range of 1300-1900masl. 1

Blueprint's well-designed interior
Blueprint’s well-designed interior

Blueprint’s cafe in St. Louis is well worth visiting. They do their roasting out of the same place and it’s a nicely put-together space. One of the coffees I had while I visited was this one, made as a V60 pourover. It was nicely served, but man, this was a weird coffee for me! It had a super-light body, being downright watery and thin. It was very bright and had lots of flavors of stewed plums as well as, oddly enough, dill! It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a coffee I was really into, either. I’d had a lot of coffee up to that point so maybe my palate was messed up by then, too, who knows?

In any case, I prepared this coffee at home using my AeroPress, which I find always handles Kenyan coffees very well. The body is better, still quite light, but it’s at least there in the AeroPress! It’s a very complex coffee, having notes of grapefruit tartness up front with an undercurrent of caramel sweetness and a spice I can’t quite seem to put my foot on. I get a bit of that stewed plum in the finish, but a big raisin flavor in the middle. I really enjoyed this coffee on my AeroPress and it’s a good example of a complex Kenyan coffee. I don’t think this (or any of the really complex ones) would be my first choice to offer a coffee newb, but for someone who can suss out flavors and likes to spend time thinking about what they’re tasting, this coffee certainly fits.

I was excited to compare this coffee to another Kenya Karimikui I reviewed recently, the peaberry from Compelling & Rich. The “AA” in Blueprint’s version means these beans were the largest size in the lot. Peaberry grade coffee is on the other end of the spectrum, very small. Peaberries occur when only one seed, instead of the normal two, grow inside the cherry. They are small and round instead of the usual flat-on-one-side we associate with coffee. Of course, a tremendous amount of the flavor comes from how they were roasted, it’s not all about origin and bean size and such. The Compelling & Rich Peaberry leaned more toward lemon-lime acidity, was more floral and had a softer, rounder sweetness and aftertaste.

Two very different coffees, interestingly, but I liked them both. As the Blueprint AA Top opens up it gets more acidic but also sweeter, like a grapefruit candy almost. It’s very complex and not a real easy drinker as a result, but a wonderful, bright, coffee to ponder and pick apart. Definitely a stand out coffee from what has been, in my opinion, a really good year for Kenyan coffees! Unfortunately for us it’s sold out, but keep your eyes peeled for more Karimimui lots from Blueprint in the future!