Ki Roasters from Colorado knocked by socks off with their yellow honey process coffee from Costa Rica’s Las Lajas micromill and we’re back with Ki, jumping to the other side of the world to Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia, to check out a washed coffee. It seems like it has been a while since I’ve had a washed Ethiopian coffee (it probably hasn’t been, but it seems that way, all the same!) so I’m really excited for this!
Ki Roasters Costa Rica Sabanilla de Alajuela review (yellow honey process from Las Lajas!)
KI ROASTERS ETHIOPIA SEDE YIRGACHEFFE
Ki Roasters is a small roasting operation founded and run by Bert Davis in Littleton, Colorado (Denver area). The name, Ki, comes from the Greek word, “chay,” which means, “revive” or “awaken” and it’s a Biblical reference to Genesis 2:7. Bert wants Ki coffee to be part of your literal awakening in the morning, so it’s a deep cut but a cool name and he has some classy packaging to go with it. The matte black label with the semi-matte, sort of textured gold disc with his logo looks very high end and I really like the simplicity of the type he uses, too. Bert started roasting at home early in 2016. That summer he wanted to tour with his band and he needed to raise money, so he started to sell his coffee and things really took off. In 2017, Bert officially founded Ki Roasters. Bert is still, amazingly, using a Huky 500 (an awesome, but tiny, drum roaster, used by many large roasting operations as a sample roaster while they work on roasting profiles for a coffee), so I’m looking forward to the day that he can upgrade to a larger capacity roaster and get more coffee out there into more cups!
This morning’s coffee is a washed coffee from the Yirgacheffe area of Ethiopia. The local tribe in this area is Konga Sede, and Konga itself is only about 4km from Yirgacheffe, but it has its own unique microclimate, making Konga coffees somewhat unique. Sede is a town in the Konga area. Washed coffees from Konga tend to have lots of citrus (often lemon) notes as well as stone fruits like peach, apricot, etc. Like most Ethiopian coffees, this is a lot of mixed heirloom varieties grown by smallholder farmers who pool their coffee for sorting and processing at a local mill. The Konga microregion has about 5000 coffee farmers (!) and 10 mills handling their production with 40-50 containers of coffee leaving the region annually (that’s a lot). Coffee grows around 1780-1870masl here.
Bert gives us tasting notes of, “apricot, jasmine, cherry and lemon” and really recommends this coffee as a pourover. So, I’m using my usual setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of Third Wave Water (always!) in a notNeutral Gino with Kalita 185 filter. My Handground grinder was set to 3. A lot of the coffee in my bag were peaberries and other tiny beans, and it’s a dense coffee, so the coffee bed looks small, but it weighs what it weighs! I am getting some nice light caramel and lemony aromas from my cup after brewing and maybe some hints of florals, too. When I take a sip, there’s a lot going on and all of it is good. Citrus and stonefruit? This coffee could be on the poster advertising Konga coffee! LOL
On the front end of the sip there is a light, fruity sweetness and hints of peach. It’s actually quite muted compared to what it turns into. As the coffee washes over my palate there is more apparent peach flavors with a bit of acidity giving it more of an apricot vibe. I love peachy, apricoty coffees, so I’m already a fan a few sips into this coffee! In the last part of the sip there is some light lemon citrus acidity that actually builds in the aftertaste, which sticks around for a long time. This is a medium-light bodied coffee, but the aftertaste hangs on for days and it’s peaches, apricots and lemon with a little coffee bitterness and it’s awesome. I don’t get much in the way of florals in this cup outside of the hints in the aroma. There is nice sweetness accompanying the peach/apricot flavors, which are the star of the show, and this is a super clean-tasting, structured coffee that is just delightful to drink. As the cup cools, and with larger sips, the lemon character becomes more apparent, but it’s not a sharp acidity at all. It’s almost more like lemon peel… maybe like candied lemon peel? There is a bit of bitterness to it, which is needed to balance all the sweetness in this cup (and, let’s remember, coffee is inherently bitter even when I describe things like sweetness in the cup!). The mouthfeel isn’t particularly tea-like for this coffee, but it does have some black tea notes, especially with that bitterness (again a good thing) I keep coming back to. Usually when I describe a coffee as tea-like it is somewhat astringent and leaves sort of a dryness on my tongue but that is minimal in this coffee. In this case it has some actual black tea flavors. Coupled with that light lemon acidity and peach and apricot flavors this reminds me of a peach-flavored black tea with a squeeze of lemon in the glass and just a little sweetness to balance it out.
This is a really nice coffee. Stalking Bert’s Instagram I know he takes his sourcing pretty seriously and I’m guessing this coffee came from La Bodega, the smaller-bag arm of Cafe Imports that caters to smaller roasters or larger home-roasting operations. They know coffee, really well, and with Bert’s skill in front of the roaster, it’s a match made in heaven. This is a really beautiful coffee and it’s perfectly roasted. I’m a fan! Bert sent me two very different coffees. The Costa Rican was a little funky, leaning a lot more into natural territory than what I usually find with honey process coffees. It ticked all the marks I love about Central American natural/honey process coffees an the Las Lajas mill always produces awesome coffees for export, so I’m biased there, too. This Ethiopian from Ki is more refined, but it’s sweet, delicious, clean, has clarity of flavors and yet it’s delicious and inviting and familiar. Just buy both and you’ll be happy!