The Coffee Ride Kenya Gondo

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The Coffee Ride is a micro-roasting and coffee delivery business owned and operated by Josh Crane in Boulder, Colorado. It seems like in our community there is a natural affinity for bicycles and coffee (or beer!) and human-powered coffee delivery is certainly a way to marry those two passions! Josh contacted me a while back and wanted to send some coffee for my opinion, but I liked this Kenya Gondo and wanted to publish it as a review, too! If There are a variety of shipping options on The Coffee Ride site and if you’re ordering for shipment you need to buy two bags of coffee (they can be different ones, of course) which will run you $30 including shipping. There are memberships and, if you’re in Boulder, bike delivery available, too!

The best way to learn about Josh and The Coffee Ride is to watch the short video at the bottom of the page. I’m having trouble figuring out how to resize embedded Vimeo vids, sorry, and it fits best on the page at the bottom so it doesn’t overlap my sidebar ads.

Josh’s tasting notes on The Coffee Ride’s website says that this Kenya Gondo is a washed coffee that “features a flavor profile of pink grapefruit, apricot, sweet honey, and a hint of tomato.” The last time I reviewed a Kenyan coffee from the Gondo cooperative it was Huckleberry’s version (also from Colorado!). You can read that review here.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag from The Coffee Ride is a nice, uniform, although slightly darker than expected, roast on the beans. The trend of today is usually to roast Kenyan coffee as lightly as possible to bring as much of the prized acidity forward. I talked to Josh about this and he said he test roasts and cups each coffee he works with until he finds the best balance of attributes he is looking for, which is how it should be done. He said this one goes about 20 seconds after first crack.

I had this coffee as AeroPress, Gino pourover and even as espresso and I liked all three. The AeroPress seemed to make for a more interesting cup, the Gino was a little more tame and my favorite, and the espresso was pretty wild, which isn’t unexpected with a single origin Kenyan coffee! In brewing this coffee the aromas that come off the brew bed are thickly sweet of dark brown sugar and raisins, and this comes through in the flavor, too. The mouthfeel on this coffee is medium and round and there is a long aftertaste. I found my AeroPress (inverted, immersion, 2:00 brew then press) to have a pretty forward coffee bitterness that is characteristic of Kenyan and other very high altitude coffees. This bitterness is almost herb-like in its character and pretty intense, but this coffee has the sugar development from the roast to balance it out effectively. I picked up some mint-like (more in the mouthfeel than the flavor) hints in the AeroPress, too, dark chocolate and a tiny hint of roast/carbon in the aftertaste. This “darker” roast knocked the acidity down in the cup for me, although some citrus hints peeked through.

As a Gino pourover, the coffee was a little more tame with soft, round body, just a hint of grapefruit acidity, a little caramel in the sweetness and a long, mild aftertaste. I still found hints of mint in this cup, too, but more as a cooling effect in my mouth and on my lips than as a real minty flavor. This is how I really enjoyed this coffee the most.

In the espresso machine, this coffee was pretty intense and wild and I think it could work with some dialing in, but taming a single origin Kenyan coffee for espresso is not an easy job! As espresso it had a ton of raisin sweetness but was dominated by a huge grapefruit pith acidity and bitterness. It wasn’t quite the face-melter I made with Huckleberry’s Gondo, but it was close!

Josh did a great job with this coffee, pulling some flavors forward that aren’t always highlighted in very bright Kenyan coffees and making as easy drinker out of a coffee that is often challenging for me. It’s not that I don’t like Kenyan coffees, but their complexity and flavor profiles sometimes lend themselves to small amounts and can get tiring on the palate quickly. This one was balanced and easy to enjoy cup after cup a variety of ways. Excellent job!