It seemed like just a few months ago that I got some coffee samples from Valparaiso, Indiana’s Dagger Mountain Roastery, but that was way back in February 2016! Time really does fly when you’re having fun! My homies from Indiana sent another box of goodies my way and a random grab from the box picked out this Kenya, labeled as “roaster’s favorite” on the site, so let’s dig in and taste this coffee!
DAGGER MOUNTAIN ROASTERY KENYA KIRIANI AA
Like many people in specialty coffee, Dagger Mountain founder, Andy Urschel, got his start roasting coffee on a popcorn popper in his garage. After working for Counter Culture in Chicago, he eventually upgraded to a full-size machine and branched out on his own with Dagger Mountain in Valparaiso, just outside of the Windy City. Off the beaten path, Dagger Mountain has a cool-looking tasting room and cafe in their industrial roasting space in Valpo’s warehouse district, and those in the know make the pilgrimage regularly!
Today’s coffee is a fresh Kenyan that just arrived to Dagger Mountain in February. It comes from the Kiriani co-op located in the Kiriani region of Kenya. Coffee grows around 1600 meters above sea level there. This is a washed coffee, as you’d expect from Kenya, and this selection contains both classic Kenyan varietals, SL-28 and SL-34. Dagger Mountain gives us flavor notes of, “pomegranate, lemon cake, caramel” for this one. I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee and 450g of water in my notNeutral Gino dripper. Handground grinder was set to 3.5 and I used Third Wave Water for my brewing.
This is an interesting coffee and I can see why it’s a roaster’s fave! My palate is greeted with a lot of activity in the sip and there’s a lot going on in the finish and aftertaste, too. This coffee has a medium-light body for me that I found to be a bit watery even, but that’s a super-minor dig on an otherwise super-delicious coffee! Rather than that big, grapefruity, pithy acidity that often comes with classic Kenyan coffees, this one is quite different. The sip comes in smooth and mellow with sweet, light caramel tones and then quickly builds to a beautiful lemon character that is bright and citrusy but also carries some sweetness with it. Together with that light caramel sweetness, I am instantly reminded of a lemon sandwich cookie!
As this cup cools it really embraces that sweet, lemony vibe. There is something else in there, too, adding complexity… A little bit of a hint of baking spices in the aftertaste, maybe (furthering that sandwich cookie I can’t get my mind off now!) and some floral tones in the sip, I think. What an interesting coffee! Give me a washed Ethiopian from Yirgacheffe and I’d expect a lot of lemon, but not from Kenya. This is a clean, delicious, easy-drinking and yet somewhat complex cup that I found myself taking bigger and bigger gulps of! Awesome and truly deserving of the “roaster’s favorite” label!