I’m diving back into this month’s Barista Coffee Box featuring Hajo Roasts. Check out the last link below to find out how Hans-Jörg Knoll made the switch from being a successful automotive engineer to a (also successful!) coffee roaster in Silicon Valley! This morning I’m checking out Hajo’s Kenya Nyeri. Let’s go!
BARISTA COFFEE BOX 4/2017: HAJO ROASTS KENYA NYERI
A big thanks to Barista Coffee Box for continuing to support KC Coffee Geek by providing a box every month for me to share with readers. These guys are great and I love the fact that I get to try four different coffees from the roaster of the month. Make sure you check them out and take advantage of special first-box offers they’re running! It’s through subscriptions like this that I’m able to find so many small roasters, like Hajo, that I’ve never heard of. I love it!
Today’s coffee is Hajo’s Kenya Nyeri. Hajo’s website doesn’t specify that it’s a peaberry selection, but I noticed a lot of peaberries in the bag. Considering how most Kenyan coffee is screened to separate beans by size, I’m assuming this is a peaberry lot, if that matters to you. Farmers in Nyeri grow coffee at 1400-1800 meters above sea level and pool their coffee together through cooperative societies for sorting, processing and sale. Hajo gives us flavor notes of, “juicy grapefruit, lemon, raspberry, nougat and spices” for this coffee and it certainly sounds wonderful!
I used my usual pourover setup for my sample… a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water. I used a 3 setting on my Handground grinder and that gave me a total brew time of about 3:40 in a notNeutral Gino brewer. I used Third Wave Water, as always, in my brewing. I love that stuff!
The aroma coming from my cup is really great! It’s familiar, and I’ve gotten this same aroma from a lot of other Kenyan coffees, but it’s one of those smells I still have never been able to put my finger on. There are elements of spices and baked goods but not quite. I dunno, but it smells awesome! There is a deliciously inviting lemon acidity to this cup. It’s bright, but plenty sweet, too. I was getting slight roasty notes in the finish and aftertaste, which lingers for quite a long time. There is a baked bread crust vibe to the aftertaste, too. That roastiness and the inherent sweetness of the coffee, along with some tartness from the lemon acidity gives it an almost sourdough-like aftertaste, but it’s sweeter and less tangy than that.
This is a beautifully balanced coffee. The lemon, slightly orangey, acidity is perfectly balanced by sweetness and with some retronasal breathing in the finish I pick up some allspice and maybe even hints of anise. This is a really clear and structured coffee and it’s very clean and well-roasted. As the cup cools the acidity is slightly pink grapefruit, too, although lemon is really the dominant note I am picking up from the high notes in this cup.
Another lovely coffee from Hajo! This one is juicy and sweet and has nice brightness but supreme balance. Those baked goods notes and hints of spice and roast are unexpected in a coffee that I presumed would be mostly fruity and acidic and I love the surprise! The flavors blend effortlessly in this coffee and it’s a real winner for me!