I caught a glimpse of Steadfast Coffee’s package for the first time a week or two ago on my pal, Brian Beyke’s Instagram feed (nice photos, nice coffees!) and then I was totally surprised when I got this month’s My Coffee Pub subscription and opened the box to see the very same gorgeous bag looking back at me! You can get this coffee as part of your monthly subscription from My Coffee Pub or directly from Steadfast Coffee for $20/bag with free shipping.
Steadfast Coffee is a new addition to the community of Nashville, TN and they have a great Instagram feed and the shop looks incredible in the photos. Today I am looking at their AB Tarime from Tanzania. Doing a little map research, I found the Tarime District in the northernmost “corner” or Tanzania, bordering Lake Victoria to the west, Kenya to the north and east and Serengeti National Park to the south. It must be beautiful there!
The “AB” in the coffee comes from how coffee is graded/sorted in Kenya and, apparently, in Tanzania (I imagine their coffee industry has taken a lot of cues from their neighbor). Coffee is sorted and sold in lots by size, with AA being the biggest beans, followed by AB. It used to be thought that bigger beans = better beans but it’s not that simple. Please do not think that an AB coffee is of any lesser quality than an AA coffee because both can be plenty awesome!
Steadfast gives us descriptors of, “blue raspberry, creme fraiche, dried apricot” for this coffee, which is composed of the new-to-me N39 and KP432 varietals grown at 1850masl and sold as lots out of Tarime. 1
This was an interesting coffee for me. The dry fragrance (did you know that the smell of the dry coffee = “fragrance” and once water hits it, it becomes “aroma?” I learned that from Jeff Taylor at PT’s!) of the whole beans and the grounds was that familiar sweet/savory combination I’ve been finding in all my Kenyan coffees this year. Smelled great and the beans looked nice and consistent, too. As of this writing I’ve had this coffee as both a Chemex and a Gino (like a Kalita 185) using my usual 1:15 ratio and about a 4:00 total brew time. Both were good although there was something about the Chemex for this one that was a bit more drinkable. Could’ve just been the day, though!
The thing that struck me most about this coffee is its bitterness. I know bitterness can immediately evoke reactions of “yuck!” from people, but bitterness is an essential component of coffee and it was delicious and complex in this coffee. The trick with bitterness in coffee, in my opinion, is to balance it out so it’s still drinkable. If you’re a beer drinker, think of the most gnarly, hoppy IPA you’ve ever had. It was probably awesome, for a few ounces, and then it’s really likely you were ready to switch to something else. Steadfast did a great job giving us this beautiful bitterness and complexity but balancing it out with sweetness to keep it very drinkable.
The bitterness itself reminded me of grapefruit and there was some citrus acidity in the cup along with it. There was a spiciness to the cup as well that seemed to burrow into my cheeks and really add another dimension to this coffee. The mouthfeel was nice and full and the aftertaste had a good finish that wasn’t too dry. There was a cocoa component in the aftertaste and I picked up some plum flavors toward the end of the sip.
The mouthfeel itself had a dairy “feel” to it and I got a bit of what reminded me of lactose sweetness from this coffee, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the “creme fraiche” descriptor when I looked the coffee up this morning for my research! Go, me! LOL
I have pretty limited experience with Tanzanian coffees so I didn’t have many expectations. This one was fantastic and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be in touch with Steadfast to see if I can get my hands on some more of their coffees! Impressed, for sure!