Flavor Profile Lemon, lime, chocolate, tangy, effervescent
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This is a traditional double-washed coffee from Nyeri, Kenya, produced by 500 farmer-members of the Gatugi factory and Othaya Cooperative Society.
The flavor profile is bold, with zesty lemon-like acids, salted caramel savory notes, hints of florality like Bergamot, and a strong milk chocolatey structure.
Our roasters found the coffee responsive to changes in the roaster and easy to appreciate at multiple roast profiles.
When brewed, our team noted the high solubility and encouraged updosing and using a coarser-than-average grind setting.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Gatugi is a Kenyan coffee for lovers of bold flavors. This is an immensely citrus-forward offering with strong support in categories ranging from sweet to savory. Importantly, it’s also really full-bodied, probably the most viscous, syrupy, and rounded of this first round of Kenyan Crown Jewels, and maybe for the whole season.
Twin sample roasts on the Ikawa Pro showcased different sides of the same coin: silky smooth mouthfeel, salted caramel, and zesty acid profile. We found the savory flavors to veer closer to roasted tomatillo and green curry than the traditional sun-dried tomato, and enjoyed complex sweetness. Production roasts yielded additional nuance of bergamot florality and a chocolatey backbone, which when brewed as a pour-over felt more like fudge due to the coffee’s high solubility.
Ultimately, this is a coffee with a lot of personality, and one that will show through many roasting and brewing approaches. If you prefer to take your Kenyas a little on the darker side, you’ll find here an excellent candidate whose flavors develop nicely at darker levels. However, if you like the lighter side of the spectrum, you’ll be surprised at the enduring viscosity and caramelly sweetness and how well they pair with the bright acidity.
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 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 Gatugi 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 Gatugi Factory has 500 members actively harvesting and delivering to the processing center. The factory’s total cherry intake tends to hover around 323,000 kgs, meaning the average member of Gatugi is farming enough coffee fruit for roughly two 60kg bags of exportable green.
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.
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.
Gatugi typically ferments for 27-35 hours depending on ambient conditions. For many processors, the changing mountain climate tends to dictate fermentation temperatures, and Gatugi staff are required to check fermentation progress every three hours. After fermentation, the parchment is rinsed, and the water replenished. Then, the clean parchment soaks for an additional 12 hours, after which it is sorted by density and brought to the tables to dry, typically for two weeks. 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 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Green coffee from Kenya is a truly coveted crop, and 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.
Gatugi, our third offering from the Othaya group, is a classic AA grade with sizes sorted to 18 and 19 screens and a little spillover into the top tray. Its moisture numbers are low and stable, as expected, and the coffee should rest nicely in good storage conditions. It’s a little lower in density than we usually expect from this origin and may not need as much heat as some of its sturdier companion lots.
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 Analysis by Doris Garrido
This is a 9:00 minute roast of the Kenya Neyri Othaya Gatugi, that rewarded us with a high intensity juicy lemon note, orange, black and tart cherry, dry cranberry, bergamot, as well as sweet fig jam, salted caramel, smooth and silky body with, milk chocolate, papaya and with the taste of course of clamato juice and sundried tomato.
Like some of Kenya’s other coffees from Nyeri I have been roasting lately, Gatugi also comes with an amazingly even screen size, ranking mostly at #18 and #19, with average density and moisture content. For this coffee I was looking closely at my exhaust temperature and exhaust rate of rise. I did this to make sure I can reach a high temperature but with the ability to get into first crack with enough control for the after-development part of the roast.
This was my second roast from that day which meant that the Diedrich drum was already heated. I just waited for the roaster to reach 427.9F again and charged my 5.5lb batch with 100% gas and 411F exhaust temp, waited a few seconds, and started 50% air flow.
Drying phase lasted 4:28 seconds, and the coffee started yellowing at 310F. Watching the exhaust temp, I started lowering my gas in order to avoid getting into the 430F area. I thought it would be too high to control it from there. I lowered first at 424F (exhaust temp) to 70% gas and a little later to 45%. I got yellowing at 410F (bean temperature) and dropped my gas to the lowest, 30%. Bean rate of rise and exhaust temperature were running at a great pace, lowering little by little, and coffee started cracking at 379.5F bean temperature. I then applied 100% air and let it run for 1:27 seconds, where bean rate of rise dropped to 4F/minute. And I dropped the coffee at 392F, at exactly 9 minutes. We were very pleased at the cupping table, this roast did justice to the coffee. This was a very excellent coffee to roast, responded very well and tasted even better.
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!
As a typically super-dense and immaculately processed Kenyan coffee, the Gatugi exceeds all expectations. Seeing its name on or near the Crown Jewel selection list over the past few years means that it also fulfills expectations of what this factory is capable of, and it’s great to see a familiar name once again.
Rather than get too adventurous, I decided to approach this coffee knowing that it would crack early (as I’ve found most Kenyan coffees do) and focused on spending a good amount of time in post-crack development. I’m glad I took this approach, as it also seemed to work out well for my compatriots Doris and Colin on the Diedrich IR-5 and Ikawa V3 respectively. Some folks enjoy their incredibly bright East African coffees, but I went into this one knowing that I’d have plenty of acidity to work with, without worrying too much about rushing through Green/Drying in order to preserve as much acidity as possible. Plenty of tartness to work with here!
Starting at 428F, P8 power application, and F2 fan speed, I started the push on this coffee from the outset – no ‘soak’. The incredible density, I knew, was sure to resist an even stronger push than I was giving it. Nevertheless, I lowered heat application to P7 at 288F / 2:54 to really draw this coffee slowly through the end of Drying and into Maillard. This is because of the other vector at play here: super-tight screen size distribution. All the beans were of very similar size, so they heated more evenly and quickly than a lot with larger screen size distribution, meaning I didn’t need to apply as much force. It’s a fickle balance.
I didn’t increase fan speed to F3 until 320F / 4:13, and only began to ramp down my heat application well after yellowing. I increased once more to F4 just before first crack, then again to F5 just after, really pulling any smoke and moisture generated out of the barrel as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to lose too much momentum, however, and increased heat application back to P7, also just after first crack. This isn’t a typical move for me, but I knew that having a low rate of rise (11F/min) with no extra heat application would lead to a complete crash. With this extra heat applied, my rate of rise continued to decline slowly, and I was able to stretch my post-crack development to a generous 18% of the roast time – also possible because of the typically low crack temperature of this splendid Kenyan coffee.
This was an completely atypical roast for me, but one which yielded very pleasant results. My ratio of time spent in Green/Maillard/Post-Crack was 52% / 29% / 18%, very heavily weighted towards Green/Drying. Again, this didn’t worry me – but it’s not generally what I go for. The cup, though.
Sugary chocolate hard candy sweetness came through immediately, even while hot. Mellow and juicy citric acidity shone through tufted clouds of sage like limoncello on a hot day. Tealike hibiscus wasn’t so much a lemon zinger as it was a jamaica agua fresca, with the juiciness cooling into a flavor like an elderberry wine I was privileged to try on a trip to Northern Luzon in the Philippines. Yeah, this coffee made me feel a little poetic; it took me places.
Honestly, you’re going to have a pretty hard time making this coffee taste bad. I dare you to even try. But a word to the wise: don’t be afraid of a little extra development. This coffee is going to be delicious no matter how it’s prepared. Drink deeply – hot, cold, or lukewarm. Kenya season is upon us, and Gatugi delivered again.
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.
The Gatugi is our third lot from Nyeri, Kenya (following CJ1488 and CJ1489) to come into our Tasting Room and Labs this July, and it is hard to not compare it with the previous two coffees. Similar to the lots from the Gura Washing Station and from the Mahiga Factory, this coffee was meticulously processed and sorted. The green is on the large side with a medium density—slightly lower in density than the Gura and Mahiga beans. I warmed up the Ikawa Pro V3 in our green lab and roasted 50 grams up using our Maillard +30 Profile, as well as our newer Inlet Profile. The Inlet Profile starts at a higher heat, hitting the turning point earlier on, and then gradually reduces the heat level, creating a gentle curve. As the Inlet Profile roast of the Gatugi tapered off, the coffee barely hit first crack before the roast finished, spending much of the roast in the Maillard phase, with barely any time spent in development. In contrast, the Maillard +30 Profile roast builds with a slower but steady heat, pushing through the turning point about 5 seconds slower than the Inlet Profile roast, and color change happened about 50 seconds later than on the Inlet Profile roast. The Maillard Profile roast spent about 2:15 in the Maillard phase (compared with the Inlet Profile roast spending almost 4 minutes in the Maillard phase), and about 1:15 in the development phase (which the Inlet Profile barely entered).
On the cupping table, there was a shared preference for the Maillard Profile roast, which had punchier flavors, more complex and interesting acidity, and a richer, heavier body. We tasted notes of roasted pineapple and roasted tomatillos, chocolate, peppercorn, and lime zest. The Inlet Profile roast resulted in a coffee with a cleaner mouthfeel, more citrus notes, and hints of green curry, papaya and watermelon rind. While still a tasty cup, it seemed like the additional time in the development phase with the Maillard Profile helped round out some of the coffee’s flavors and body, giving it a more pleasing range of flavors and a lovely balance overall. This coffee will likely respond well to being pushed with a bit extra heat going further into the roast, giving it a bit more of the complexity that will make dialing it in on the Tasting Room pour over bar a lot of fun.
You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill
This sweet, juicy coffee came into the Tasting Room on the tails of two other Kenyan coffees also from Nyeri County, on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. It is a privilege to sip on these pristine coffees together, playing with our brew methods to explore the nuances of flavor and body. While we noticed a hint of sundried tomato in one of our brews, these coffees offer so much more than expected origin notes. Because this coffee showed off a heavier body on the cupping table, we focused on brewing with cone devices, and I’ll discuss a few of our brews on the Hario V60. The V60 has a decently sized drainage hole, and with its angle and the thinner Hario paper filters, we’re able to clean up the body of a coffee while still extracting complex flavor compounds.
We started off with a dose of 20 grams of coffee ground at an 8 on our EK43. We poured an initial pulse of 50 grams of water, allowing it to bloom for 50 seconds, following with a pulse of 100 grams, and three additional pulses of 5 grams, pouring a total of 300 grams of water. This brew finished draining in 3:55, and we tasted soft notes of current, plum, nectarine, pomelo, and we noticed a pleasant floral quality as well. The brew was tasty, though a little on the weak side. Josh decided to play around with the dose on the next brew, starting with an additional 5 grams—25 total—ground at an 8.5 on the EK43. Keeping the ratio close to that of the previous brew (1:15), Josh poured a total of 380 grams of water over four pulses (50 grams, 150 grams, 100 grams, and a final 50 grams), and the brew finished draining in 4:20. We tasted an increase in sweetness in this juicier brew. We noticed notes of earl grey, red grape, raisin, and apricot.
Josh decided to play further with grind size, returning to a dose of 20 grams of coffee ground at a 9 on our EK43. For this brew, Josh poured an initial pulse of 50 grams of water, allowing it to bloom for 60 seconds before pouring a pulse of 150 grams of water, and then a final pulse of 100 grams. This brew finished draining at 3:30 and seemed to yield a bit more complexity in flavors. We tasted vanilla bean, chocolate fudge, quince paste, plum, lychee, bergamot, lemon-lime, lime leaf, and a touch of sundried tomatoes. This last brew was especially pleasing to sip, and sip, and sip, as we examined the contours of the flavor as it cooled.
This is an interesting yet drinkable coffee that is highly soluble in pour over brewing systems. We found it performed better with slightly higher dosing and a slightly coarser grind size, and it could make for a delicious filter coffee offering.