Let’s start the week locally (for me, at least!) and check out one of the newest offerings from Kansas City’s own Encore Coffee Co. This morning, I’m taking a taste of Encore’s selection from Tanzania, previously available only to Tour Pass subscribers and now a mainstay coffee, while it lasts. Check it out!
ENCORE COFFEE CO. TANZANIA KILIMANJARO MAMSERA JUU CO-OP
Mike King has been going strong with Encore Coffee Co. since he started the company a year or two ago. It’s nice to see that in today’s competitive roasting market that a home roaster can make the transition out of a job he is tired of and follow his passion and make a go of it. Good on you, Mike! I’ve really enjoyed Mike’s approach to roasting coffee, which emphasizes sweetness and easy-drinking characteristics. This morning’s coffee was one of Mike’s popular Tour Pass subscriber-only selections, but now it’s available for purchase by anyone on his site. This is a washed coffee from Tanzania, the largest country in east Africa. With Kenya and Uganda at its northern border and Rwanda and Burundi at its northwest corner, Tanzania has long had a good reptutation in the coffee world. This particular coffee comes from the eastern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Unlike a lot of places where small farmers bring coffee cherries to cooperatives for processing, in this part of Tanzania it is all done at home, then the dried “parchment” coffee is brought to the co-op (Mamsera, in this case) to see if it passes muster. So, growers in this region essentially grow coffee in their yard, then do all the washing, pulping, fermenting and drying on homemade equipment right there at home! If the cooperative-owned mill decides the coffee is good enough, they mill and grade the parchment coffee and collect it into larger lots for exportation.
This coffee is Bourbon, Kent and Nyasa varieties grown around 1400-1700masl. The fact that all this processing work is done by hand at home by individuals is insane, and it shows just how caring these people are about their coffee which, for them, is what allows them their way of life. This fact never fails to amaze me.
I’m using my standard pourover setup this morning of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. My Handground grinder is set to 3 and I’m using Third Wave Water, as always. This coffee is considered a light/medium roast by Mike and he does not offer any tasting notes on the bag or on the site for this coffee, so it’s a blank slate to see what my palate tastes without any influence whatsoever!
This is a medium to medium-heavy bodied coffee and it has some nice high notes right up front. I get some orange juice sweetness and citrus acidity in the front of the sip that also has some sweet pink grapefruit notes in it that carry through the whole sip into the finish, which is sweet. This coffee has a heavy, creamy mouthfeel and a dense presence on my palate. There is some grapefruit pith bitterness in the background, which I like because it adds some dimension and complexity to this cup. Mike really gets a lot of balance out of this coffee… all that orange and grapefruit citrus can get out of hand, but this coffee is solidly anchored by a lot of caramel sweetness that gives a bit of a baked bread crust vibe in the aftertaste if I can stand to put a couple minutes between sips. This is definitely a juicy cup that really encourages fast drinking and it just gets more open and more delicious as it cools.
This is a great choice for a mainstay coffee! Mike has done a fantastic job roasting this coffee. It’s not the most complex coffee ever, but those orange and pink grapefruit citrus notes are darn near perfectly balanced by heavy caramel sugar development and Mike manages all this without giving the coffee really any roasty/toasty/smoky notes. He really straddled that line and brought forward some amazing and balanced flavors here that make this coffee incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. This is a big winner for me!