overview

Overview 

This is a traditional double washed coffee from Nyeri, Kenya, produced by 500 farmer-members of the Gura Washing Station and Othaya Cooperative Society. 

The flavor profile is complex, zesty, and unique: we found notes of plum, honey, turmeric, and orange. 

Our roasters noted the coffee can take a lot of heat, and enjoyed a slightly longer color-change phase when comparing roasting styles. 

When brewed, our baristas sampled multiple pour-overs, and particularly enjoyed thick-filtered options like the Chemex and St. Anthony F70 and P70. 

taste

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

The first round of our favorite Kenyas have landed and there’s a bit of a sparkle in everyone’s mug and a twinkle in our eyes. This coffee from Gura was chosen for analysis for its complexity, zestiness, and some lovely unique flavors that really show off the fact that Kenyan coffees can’t be pigeon-holed into little boxes of “citrus” and “tomato.” 

While we certainly tasted our fair share of tart fruits (orange, lime, and lemon made strong showings) we also found a more delicate and juicy stone fruit nature including nectarine, apricot, and especially plum. What’s especially fun about the flavor profile is a tea-like quality that edges onto sweet spice, particularly a turmeric-like note that I just don’t see very often in individual descriptors, much less noted more than once by separate tasters. 

There’s no denying that Kenyas are favorites for pour-overs and flash-iced brews (it’s summertime, y’all), but we’re going to be dialing this coffee in as an espresso in the Tasting Room and can’t wait to debut it as a default option for a new signature drink that riffs on watermelon agua fresca and bloody mary flavors. If you’re in the neighborhood, swing by for a taste. 

source

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger 

Mt. Kenya, at the helm of Kenya’s Central Province, is the second tallest peak on the continent of Africa and a commanding natural presence. The mountain itself is a single point inside a vast and surreal thicket of ascending national forest and active game protection communities. The central counties of Kenya extend from the center of the national park like six irregular pie slices, with their points meeting at the peak of the mountain. Many believe the best coffees in Kenya, often the world, are crafted in the wet, high elevation communities with mineral-rich soil that reside just along the lower edge of these forests. Nyeri is perhaps the most well-known of these central counties. Kenya’s coffee sector is dominated by a cooperative system of production whose members vote on representation, marketing, and milling contracts for their coffee, as well as profit allocation.  

Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society, the umbrella organization that includes Gura Factory, is one of Kenya’s larger societies, with 19 different factories and more than 14,000 farmer members across the southern Nyeri region. The Gura Factory has 500 members actively harvesting and delivering to the processing center. The factory’s total parchment production was around 135,000 kgs this past harvest, meaning the average member of Gura is farming enough coffee fruit for about 4 bags of exportable green coffee. Othaya Farmer Cooperative Society is one of key member societies of the Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE) organization.  

KCCE is an historic organization of almost 4,000 individual cooperatives. The group was formed in 2009 with the express goal of managing marketing and exporting operations internally and cooperatively, as opposed to contractually with third parties. The economics of smallholder systems are consistently difficult everywhere in the world, and in Kenya in particular the number of individual margins sliced off an export price before payment reaches the actual farms is many, leaving only a small percentage to support coffee growth itself. And most often this arrives many months after harvest. KCCE, by managing more of the value chain itself, can capture a greater margin on behalf of the farms. The chairman of Mahiga Factory, another Othaya FCS member, happens to also be one of the founding directors of KCCE—so, the participation of Othaya FCS in farmer-forward infrastructure in Kenya is strong.  

Kenya is of course known for some of the most meticulous at-scale processing found anywhere in the world. Bright white parchment, nearly perfectly sorted by density and bulk conditioned at high elevations, is the norm, and a matter of pride even for generations of Kenyan processing managers who prefer drinking Kenya’s tea, which is abundantly farmed in nearby Muranga county. Ample water supply in the central growing regions has historically allowed factories to wash, and wash, and soak, and wash their coffees again entirely with fresh, cold river water.  

Gura typically ferments for 15 hours. After fermentation is complete, the decomposed mucilage is scrubbed away and the clean parchment soaks in a fresh water bath for another 16 hours. The parchment is then graded by density and sent to the drying tables, where it will stay for 2-3 weeks depending on the climate. After drying is complete the coffee is stored on site and eventually delivered to the Othaya dry mill for grading and a final density sort. The established milling and sorting by grade, or bean size, is a longstanding tradition and positions Kenya coffees well for roasters, by tightly controlling the physical preparation and creating a diversity of profiles from a single processing batch. 

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Kenyan coffee across the board is unequivocally some of the best-sorted coffee on the planet, almost regardless of the exact source. This is likely due in part to the influence of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, Kenya’s infamous auction system which still exerts authority and standards despite the introduction of a second window allowing direct trade beginning in 2006. 

This Gura is a classic AA grade, with exacting standards for screen size (sorted to a very casual 90% at 18-19 here) and basically zero visible defects. The density is a smidge on the low side for Kenya, but still above average for most of the rest of the globe. As expected, water activity and moisture figures are moderate-to-low indicating good shelf stability. 

The usual cultivar suspects are all here: The oldest of these are SL28 and SL34, selections made in the early days of cultivation from legacy Bourbon and Typica populations which were suited to growing conditions in Kenya. More recently Ruiru 11 and Batian have entered the fold, and are proprietary hybrids integrating the genetics of more than a dozen separate varieties in order to improve quality, yield, and disease resistance. 

  

diedrich ir-5

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido 

Previous to roasting the Kenya Othaya Gura, I got to do the green metrics. The first thing that surprised me was that the sieve sizes, 18, 19, and 20, were basically 95% of my 300g sample, which told me a lot about the sorting of this coffee and how it would perform on the roasting drum. And then Chris Kornman said to me that this coffee will take a lot of heat, as a long time roaster and a long time fan of Kenyan coffee he knew it. And I hear it because that is how I love to roast.  

With high density and lower moisture content the ideal is to make a fast roast in order to keep the complexity of acidity that Kenya is capable of before losing all the moisture during the roast. Saying that I choose to charge my 5.5 lbs. batch at 430F in our Diedrich IR-5. Everything was good till here, but I regret waiting too long to add 70% gas, 48 seconds! Now that we are serving Kenya and I got to do a few roasts for production I would recommend starting with higher gas from the beginning, the coffee would take it very well. 

At minute 1:34 I reached the turning point with 187F. Yellowing started happening at 398F and with a bean rate of rise of 33/60 seconds it was visible that the coffee was absorbing a lot of the heat. At minute 4:55 I lowered my gas to 45%. I did not want my exhaust temperature to keep rising, so I got momentum for a minute and then I dropped the gas again to the lowest 30%. First crack started happening at 377F with a 13/60secconds of bean rate of rise while my exhaust was lowering consistently with a pace that gave me confidence of leaving the coffee for 1:39 seconds with a drop temperature of 389F’. For Air flow I started using 50% at turning point, kept it during the roast and got to 100% after first crack.  

Next day at cupping we taste lime, lemon, limoncello, orange, passion fruit, ripe green apple, sweet zesty with slightly herbal, sweet brown sugars dark and milk chocolate and of course that tasty tomato acidity natural from Kenya. Definitely a great cup that held its flavors as it was cooling, and even when I was happy with the cupping notes, I know I was afraid of adding more power from the beginning, but not anymore, this coffee would take it happily and I am quite sure will show better complexity on the cup. 

aillio bullet r1

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

A fantastic coffee with remarkable flexibility, this coffee from the Gura factory truly pulled out all the bells and whistles. If this were the first Kenyan coffee you tasted, I guarantee it would blow your mind just as much as it would for the experienced taster of Kenyan coffees.  

In comparison to my roast of the other Kenyan coffee releasing this week, the Mahiga, I went in with burners blazing, completely eschewing the ‘soak’ methodology where we allow the coffee to absorb heat from the drum conductively before hitting it with more heat through convective and radiative heat.  

Starting 500g of green with P9 and F1 (generally the extremes of power and fan settings), I wanted to get this coffee closer to brown as quickly as I could. At turning point, I increased fan speed to an uncharacteristically strong F3, but kept P9 power on until 290F / 3:00 where I finally decreased heat application to P7. At yellowing (330F / 4:35), I finally increased fan speed to F4. A little afterwards, I lowered heat again, this time to its final place, P6, in order to really keep this coffee rolling slowly through First Crack. I accomplished this at a rate of about 14F/min by adding a little more fan speed to F5.  

Toward the end of this roast, the coffee just didn’t want to keep going past 390F, so against my better judgment I gave it a bit more heat and backed off the fan speed a bit. The roast finished at 396F, a little hotter than the other Kenya I roasted this week, but still within my goal. I spent a whopping 22% of time in post-crack development, which made me a bit hesitant to call this a completely successful roast, but the proof was in the cup. 

Bright and crisp pink lady apple came through when hot, crisp and juicy on the palate. This was followed by passionfruit tropicals, the quinic acidity of a sweet pomelo, and a sugary molasses finish – likely the result of the extended post-crack development. Rather than having dry distillation notes or a rough finish, this coffee just got stickier and sweeter with more development time!  

That being said, I may suggest letting this coffee venture further through Maillard before reducing heat application below P7, and perhaps not venturing so far into fan speed as F5. I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the results, but this is my space to be a perfectionist and say that a roast can always get better. Keep going, keep trying different things, but remember: no matter how much you push the envelope, it’s still stationery.  

You can find my roast on roast.world here: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/o54ZyE5O5wqI38velUFuO 

 

ikawa pro v3

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Colin Cahill 

We have recently reevaluated our standard practice for Ikawa roasting and narrowed our focus on two profiles that have been particularly helpful in designing our scaled up roasting strategies. These profiles offer a useful contrast, having been developed and refined over time to showcase the best of various green metrics and processing styles to give us a window into their performance on our production roasters. 

I wasn’t familiar yet with this coffee from the Gura producing community in Nyeri, Kenya, though I’ve enjoyed similar coffees from the same region, and was excited to spend some time working a little more closely with this lot. I settled into our Green Lab with the Ikawa Pro V3 and roasted 50 gram samples of the Gura with both our Maillard Profile and our newer Inlet Profile that starts with a slightly higher heat that pushes the coffee both to the turning point faster and into the Mailllard phase faster. The Inlet Profile eases gently off the heat after reaching about 175 degrees Celsius, yielding more of a curve when graphed out, temperature over time, extending the Maillard phase in this roast by about 40 seconds. The Maillard Profile spent more time (3:02) in the drying phase, and then almost two and a half minutes in the Maillard phase, while the Inlet Profile pushed the coffee through the drying phase (2:04) almost a minute faster with three minutes spent in the Maillard phase.  

Both roasts cupped well, each with delicious qualities and flavor notes. The Inlet Profile yielded a slightly darker roast, which was preferred across the cupping table. While the Maillard Profile roast had a slightly silkier body, we scored the Inlet roast higher on flavor and overall balance; both roasts scored high in aftertaste and acidity. With the Maillard roast, we tasted bright lemon-lime acidity, rich chocolate notes and hints of baking spices. The Inlet roast was sweet and rich, with fruitier notes of apricot, orange, lime, and plum, followed by notes of orange candy and pumpkin pie. This coffee sings with a bit of extra time in the Maillard phase, and will make an exceptional offering for espresso service. 

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here: 

Roast 1: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Inlet Sample Roast 2022   

brew

Brew Analysis by MJ Smith 

Everyone rejoice, for it’s finally Kenya season! This coffee from the Gura Washing Station in Nyeri is honestly one of my favorite coffees to come through our Crown Jewel analysis program in a while. I really liked how Charlie mentioned in his source analysis that Kenya’s county layout was comparable to a slice of pie, because that is exactly how this coffee tasted! It has the perfect balance of sugary and fruity sweetness, with just a touch of savory and spice. I’m also very excited that we’re going to be using this on our espresso bar here at The Crown in the coming weeks.  

My instincts told me to pull out the always beautiful Chemex for my first brew, which proved to be delicious. We started with a 20 gram dose of coffee, ground at 8.5 on the EK43. I wanted to try the coffee first with a slightly lower coffee:water ratio, so I stuck to our default 300g dose, giving us a ratio of 15.00. The TDS and Ext % came out a little high, but I still really enjoyed this brew. Personally, I got notes of caramel corn, peach, honey, oats, plum, and lime zest. The rest of the team pulled in notes of black cherry, oolong, blackberry, caramelized pear, apple juice, and black pepper.  

For my next brew, I switched over to the F70 dripper from St Anthony’s and dropped the dose down to 19g, but kept the grind and water dose the same. This brought out some even more interesting notes like turmeric, mango, sun gold tomato, cinnamon, with just a hint of floral-ness. Our last brew though, brought to us by Dion on the Pheonix70, really rose from the ashes and was my favorite of the three. He stuck with the same dose and ratio as the brew before, but I think the thickness of the proprietary P70 filters really cleaned it up a lot. It had some delightful and delicate notes of turmeric and oolong at the front, and then the sweetness of peach, honey, raspberry, followed by just the tiniest hint of buttered popcorn.  

Ultimately the conical pour over methods all complimented this coffee beautifully, but the steep sides of the P70 allowed all the delicate flavors to really shine while still preserving plenty of the mouthwatering Kenyan juciness.  

 

Origin Information

Grower
500 producers organized around the Gura Factory 
Variety
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian
Region
Othaya, Nyeri County, Kenya
Harvest
November - December
Altitude
 1700 – 1890 masl 
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

Mt. Kenya, at the helm of Kenya’s Central Province, is the second tallest peak on the continent of Africa and a commanding natural presence. The mountain itself is a single point inside a vast and surreal thicket of ascending national forest and active game protection communities. The central counties of Kenya extend from the center of the national park, like six irregular pie slices, with their points meeting at the peak of the mountain. It is along the lower edge of these forests where, in wet, high elevation communities with mineral-rich soil (Mt. Kenya is a stratovolcano) many believe the best coffees in Kenya, often the world, are crafted. Nyeri is perhaps the most well-known of these central counties. Kenya’s coffee is dominated by a cooperative system of production, whose members vote on representation, marketing and milling contracts for their coffee, as well as profit allocation. Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society, the umbrella organization that  includes Gura Factory, is one of Kenya’s larger societies, with 19 different factories and more than 14,000 farmer members across the southern Nyeri region. The Gura Factory has 500 members actively harvesting and delivering to the processing center. The factory’s total parchment production was around 135,000 kgs this past harvest, meaning the average member of Gura is farming enough coffee fruit for about 4 bags of exportable green coffee. Othaya Farmer Cooperative Society is one of key member societies of the Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE) organization. KCCE is an historic organization of almost 4,000 individual cooperatives. The group was formed in 2009, with the express goal of managing marketing and exporting operations internally and cooperatively, as opposed to contractually with third parties. The economics of smallholder systems are consistently difficult everywhere in the world, and in Kenya in particular the number of individual margins sliced off an export price before payment reaches the actual farms is many, leaving only a small percentage to support coffee growth itself. And most often this arrives many months after harvest. KCCE, by managing more of the value chain itself, can capture a greater margin on behalf of the farms. The chairman of Mahiga Factory, another Othaya FCS member, happens to also be one of the founding directors of KCCE—so, the participation of Othaya FCS in farmer-forward infrastructure in Kenya is strong. Kenya is of course known for some of the most meticulous at-scale processing that can be found anywhere in the world. Bright white parchment, nearly perfectly sorted by density and bulk conditioned at high elevations is the norm, and a matter of pride, even for generations of Kenyan processing managers who prefer drinking Kenya’s tea (abundantly farmed in nearby Muranga county) to its coffee. Ample water supply in the central growing regions has historically allowed factories to wash, and wash, and soak, and wash their coffees again entirely with fresh, cold river water. Gura typically ferments for 15 hours. After fermentation is complete, the decomposed mucilage is scrubbed away and the clean parchment soaks in a fresh water bath for another 16 hours. The parchment is then graded by density and sent to the drying tables, where it will stay for 2-3 weeks depending on the climate. After drying is complete the coffee is stored on site and eventually delivered to the Othaya dry mill for grading and a final density sort. The established milling and sorting by grade, or bean size, is a longstanding tradition and positions Kenya coffees well for roasters, by tightly controlling the physical preparation and creating a diversity of profiles from a single processing batch.