I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to drink four of Metric Coffee Co.’s offerings recently and I’ve been really impressed with all of them. This Kenyan coffee is no exception. It’s not a terribly complex coffee, but it has nice acid notes without being as bracing as some Kenyan coffees can be and wonderful tart cherry flavors.
Disclaimer: This coffee was provided as a complimentary review sample by roasters.co and Metric Coffee Co. This is not a paid review (and neither is any other review on this site) and the free-ness of this sample did not affect the outcome of this review. If you’d like to order this coffee from roasters.co use the coupon code “KCCOFFEEGEEK” and you’ll save 10% off your entire order!
According to Metric, the small farmers who make up the Kiamabara Factory are located in the Nyeri Central District, 200km north of Nairobi, Kenya and overlooking a national park and elephant migration routes. I don’t know how that affects the flavors of this coffee, but it sounds darn nice and enjoying a cup of coffee while watching elephants roam seems like it’d be pretty awesome!
Kenyan coffee generally has a reputation for its “brightness” or strong acid notes. Now, I mention this in every review and it bears repeating again, “acidity” in coffee is a GOOD thing. When we talk about acidity in coffee flavor terminology we aren’t talking about the acid blood that shoots out of the creatures in Alien that burns holes in steel gangplanks. It’s not going to tear up your stomach or make you choke down a fistful of TUMS, either!
In coffee lingo, acidity basically means “fruity.” That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Yes it does! The reason “acid” is probably used as a descriptor instead of “fruit” is because the flavors we pull out of fruits are usually the responsibility of compounds that, from a chemistry perspective, are acids. For example, a lot of the flavors we associate with citrus fruits come from citric acid. Malic acid, on the other hand, creates flavors that are pear-like or may be associated with stone fruits like peaches. Sweet Maria’s has a great article discussing this that I highly recommend you read. The same way “fruity” doesn’t mean much by itself (are we talking pineapples, apples, peaches, grapes, berries, or what?) “acidity” is another way of saying that there’s fruit in them there hills.
Finally, not only is acidity a good descriptor as far as yummy fruity flavors, but these compounds are literally acids (again, still not a bad thing! Damn you, antacid commercials!!!) and they elevate many of the other flavors in coffee, just like a spritz of lime or lemon on a sort of bland dish can really open up more flavors for your taste buds.
Now that we’re on the same page, Kenyan coffees are known for being acidic, sometimes even being referred to as “bracing” (the tastebud equivalent to slapping your face with Old Spice after a shave!). This Nyeri Kiamabara from Metric has nice, bright acidity without being over the top. It also is surprisingly pretty straightforward, at least to my palate.
For me, I was getting mostly tart cherry notes and as the cup cooled, a little tomato. I’ve detected tomato in other coffees before and it sounds weird, I know, but for me it’s a sense of acidity coupled with a little savory, not-quite-salty component. I’ve had one coffee in particular that was simply an outrageous tomato bomb, but the tomato I was picking up in this coffee from Metric was fleeting and I only got it during a short temperature range as the cup cooled.
The overall brightness and cherry character of this coffee amplified as the cup cooled and I have a feeling this would be a really nice cup of iced coffee. If it weren’t the end of December I would probably give it a shot in my Cold Bruer tower, but alas…
This is another winner from Metric, who I think is just killing it in the coffee game right now!