Kenyan coffees have been crushing it this year and this one from Bold Bean doesn’t disappoint! This is the second care package of coffee I’ve received from Bold Bean (go under the state of Florida on my list of reviews to find the other ones) and I loved all three of those, so I was really happy when this package landed on my doorstep!
Bold Bean Coffee Roasters are a roasting company with a couple cafes located down in Jacksonville, FL. This particular coffee, their Kenya Thithi AA, comes from the Muranga region of Kenya (I’ve reviewed several other coffees from this region and liked them all… just type “muranga” in the search bar and see what you find!) from the Thithi coffee factory. The varietals are the Kenyan classics, SL-28 and SL-34 and they are grown at 1585-1800masl. Like the majority of Kenyan coffees this is a washed coffee.
The “AA” in the name comes from how Kenyan coffees are separated and sold as lots, which is done by the size of the bean with AA being the largest. It was traditionally thought that big beans = tastier beans and that’s not necessarily the case, but it’s still the way lots are organized in Kenya. You can buy this coffee directly from Bold Bean for $19/12oz bag.
Bold Bean offers the following descriptors for this coffee: “Red fruit, grapefruit and perfumed florals with a caramel sweetness.” Sounds darn good, doesn’t it? I prepared this coffee using AeroPress and notNeutral Gino (basically a Kalita 185) pourover and both were good methods for this coffee. I think the body was a bit bigger and the sweetness was a bit better and maybe the complexity was enhanced by the AeroPress, which has been a common theme with most of the Kenyans I’ve been drinking this year, but the Gino cups were great, too.
The dry fragrance on these beans and grounds is amazing. I immediately had visions of plums, “red fruits” and spiced wine when I breathed it it and this is one of those coffees that I would be happy to just put on my desk and inhale once in a while! It’s really spectacular in the bag, which bodes well for what will end up in the cup!
The aroma on the brewed coffee was loaded with stewed plums and dark fruits and lots of sweetness. After my first sip, I wrote, “Sweet, complex, beautiful, wine-like” in my notebook. Review done! LOL
This is a complex cup with a lot going on, but it all works well together and has a lot of balance. Sometimes complexity implies that there is a lot going on in every direction, and that’s not the case with this coffee, which remains quite focused. There is a plum/red fruit start to the sip that quickly gets overtaken by a citrus pith bitterness that I always love to find in Kenyan coffees. You could easily call that a grapefruit note, for sure, but it wasn’t as in-your-face-obvious grapefruit as other Kenyan coffees can be. And it was definitely the bitterness component of the fruit rather than the acidity that was evoking thoughts of grapefruit, for me.
The cups are nice and sweet to balance that bitter note and there is a floral/spiced character that, coupled with the “redness” of this coffee made me think of wine in general, but also mulled or spiced wines. It’s not the dominant note by any stretch, but it is there and it’s unique and delicious.
There is plenty of acidity to carry this coffee and lift it, but I barely paid any attention to this coffee’s acidity, so it wasn’t really something I went into while I was tasting. The acidity was like squeezing a bit of lemon on a steak… it opened up the flavors and complemented the coffee as a whole rather than playing a direct major role.
This is a really good coffee and I am loving it. After reviewing the somewhat disappointing Glitch Coko yesterday I went straight into a cup of this from the AeroPress and it knocked my socks off!
It looks like Drew from Corner of the Cafe got the same package of coffee that I did, so check out his perspective on this one. I just did and he found the same wine and spices character I did, among other things. Always nice to see another taster tasting similar things!