When I opened this month’s box from my MyCoffeePub.com subscription I was super excited to see a Kenyan from Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, KY. I had received a small sample of their Papua New Guinea Waghi from Bryan Schiele early in the year and it blew me away! It was easily the most memorable coffee I’ve had in the past year, so I was excited to try another coffee from Sunergos, for sure! You can purchase a bag of this coffee (without being a subscriber) from MyCoffeePub.com for $17.
According to Sunergos’ website, this coffee comes from the Mukangu coffee station in the Kirinyaga region of Kenya. It contains SL-28 (the classic bright, fruity Kenyan varietal) and SL-34 beans and it is fully washed and roasted to a City (light) roast level. These coffees grow at an altitude of 1700-1800masl. Sunergos’ tasting notes for this one are “ginger limeade, clove.” 1
In a year where every Kenyan coffee I’ve had is pretty much super bright, juicy and delicious, I am sorry to say that I was a little disappointed in this coffee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad coffee, and I’ve been drinking it like crazy, so it’s not that I don’t like it, but for me it falls short compared to many of the Kenyan coffees I’ve had this year.
Maybe my memory of Sunergos’ PNG Waghi unfairly built up my expectations too much, too.
This coffee has a nice, medium body and relatively short aftertaste. For a Kenyan it is quite restrained and maybe even a little muted. I found some caramel sweetness in the cup and a spiciness that definitely conjured up the “ginger” cue that Sunergos provide on their tasting notes. I also picked out some cherry notes in some sips. The acidity is really mellow on this one and had elements of lime flavors to it. The finish on this coffee left my palate a bit dry.
I worked pretty hard to get more from this coffee, using several different recipes on AeroPress, Gino pourover and I even broke out my Chemex for this one! No matter what ratio, what grind or what method I used, this ended up being one chill Kenyan coffee for me!
Again, I’ve drunk most of the bag, so I certainly didn’t find it offensive. My only complaint is that it is just maybe too restrained, bordering on muted. At the same time, some Kenyans can be a bit abrasive with their acidity, so this would be a good entry for someone who finds Kenyan coffees too bright or hasn’t had one before. The flavors in this cup are nice, I just found myself thinking they were at “6” when I wanted them to be cranked up to “11!” LOL
Being that this Kirinyaga from Sunergos isn’t over the top in its acidity, I thought it might do well as espresso. I put it through its paces and got it dialed in pretty well for my tastes. I was pulling something in between a ristretto and a normale shot, using around 19g of coffee for a 30-ish gram shot (I forgot to write it down, sorry). This created an espresso shot with a ton of balance for me. The body was thick with good crema and I got loads of cherries in the flavor with a bit of lime acidity and lots of sweetness.
This is a nice, versatile and very consistent coffee. I got very similar flavor profiles every way I brewed it and eventually settled on loving it most as espresso. It’d be a great gateway into Kenyan coffees for a newb or for someone who doesn’t like how bright coffees from that region can be, but my palate just wanted the amplifier to be cranked louder! In the end, I plowed through most of this bag even when I had 20 other coffees staring at me from my countertop, so the coffee is nice and a good drinker, it’s just wearing a gray flannel suit when I wanted it to have a mohawk and Doc Martens.