S&W Craft Roasting offers some of the best value in specialty coffee. Their no-frills marketing and packaging allows them to put all of your dollars toward good coffee, selling coffee by the pound (16oz) for $14-$15.50! Amazing! Today I’m sharing one of S&W’s current Kenyan selections. Check out the long list of reviews under “Indiana” in the review list, and links are below to get you started!
S&W CRAFT ROASTING KENYA KIRINYAGA KAINAMUI AA
My wife bought a new table last night, so I thought I’d break it in for coffee photography usage by pairing up an Indiana roaster with an Indiana cup! Maybe that’s a sign of having too many coffee cups (you should see how my espresso cup collection!), but, hey, let’s not dwell on that. S&W Craft Roasting is a two-man operation located in the small town of Coatesville, IN. Fortezza is a cool coffee shop in Ft. Wayne that is a Counter Culture account, but maybe this photo will inspire them to add S&W to the mix, too! LOL
Today’s coffee is grown around the town of Ngariama, located in the Kirinyaga district of central Kenya. The Kainamui “factory” (not what you’re thinking… Kenyan coffee “factories” are where farmers collect, sort and then wash, depulp, ferment and dry their coffee. Outside of the pulper, there’s no real heavy equipment in these places) that processes this coffee is owned by the New Ngariama Farmers Co-operative comprised of around 2000 members (over half of whom are women farmers). The average coffee farm in this co-op has about 200 trees, so co-ops are a necessary part of the coffee trade in Kenya. The farmers grow the classics, SL-28 and SL-34, as well as Ruiru 11 at a range of altitude from 1700-1800 meters above sea level. As with the majority of Kenyan coffee, this is a washed selection that goes through the meticulous mutliple washing and fermentation cycles the Kenyans are famous for. The “AA” in the name of the coffee denotes the size of the beans, with AA being the biggest. The Kenyan coffee trade still separates coffee by size, although this is not a marker of quality or flavor, it’s just the way they do it.
S&W tell us that this is, “a milder, more delicate Kenya coffee with soft acidity and stonefruit tones (think peach/nectarine/plum).” They take this coffee to City+, which means the coffee passes through first crack (anything before this is pretty undrinkable) and then develops for some amount of time in the roaster before being dropped and cooled. They recommend pourovers or Aeropress for preparation, so of course I used my standard pourover setup… 1:16 ratio (28g of coffee, 450g of water) in a notNeutral Gino with Kalita 185 filters using a Handground grinder set on 3.5 and getting around a 3:00-3:30 total extraction time.
This made for some nice cups. I would certainly agree with S&W’s notes that this is a “softer” Kenyan coffee. While I love a super bright, almost-effervescent citrus bomb like many Kenyan coffees can be, this one is pretty mellow on the acidity front. At first the cup seemed a little muted and flat to me, but it opened up pretty quickly as it cooled, so give this one a few minutes to cool down before you get into it. There is a citrusy note in the acidity. I couldn’t pin it down definitively, but it reminded me of tangerine and a little grapefruit. It gives some brightness to the cup but it’s nowhere near as aggressive or “in your face” as the acidity of a Kenyan coffee often is. Underlying that nice, soft citrus acidity is a very sweet base, and the two together really add up to that “juicy” descriptor that often confuses people regarding coffee. When I say “juicy” I mean the coffee is sweet and has this really inviting acidity that sort of hits my cheeks and the outside of my tongue, inviting sip after sip. Juicy coffees usually promote a sensation of salivation, too, which is gross to talk about but an important first part of digestion and a nice sign that what you’re eating or drinking is good!
The latter half of the sip gave me some plummy flashes of flavor and there was definitely a peach tone to the cup, too, although, and this is always hard to explain, there was more of a peach “feeling” than the flavor of peach that some coffees give. I did get peach or apricot-y notes in the aftertaste, though, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kenyan coffee that I noticed that in until now. As always, this was a nicely sourced and roasted selection from the boys at S&W Craft Roasting. This is an easy-drinking, pleasant, mild-mannered yet super delicious and inviting coffee. If you’ve found Kenyan coffees to be too bracing or too aggressive in the past, this would be an excellent choice to see the other side of the range. And, take it nice and easy with this one, even though it encourages you to drink it fast. I found it to continually improve as it cooled! A great way to hit the end of the year!