overview

Overview 

This is a traditional double-washed coffee from Nyeri, Kenya, produced by smallholder farmer-members of the Ichamama. 

The flavor profile is delicate, with notes of sweet lemon, blackberry, and jasmine. 

Our roasters found the coffee to benefit from shorter roasting times and to reach first crack a little early. 

When brewed, our barista team enjoyed pour-overs on flat-bottom type brewers and are planning to serve it as an espresso in the near future. 

taste

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Uncommonly floral, this coffee from the Ichamama factory in Nyeri makes a triumphant return to the Crown Jewel menu, offering a delicate balance of sweet lemony acidity, lush blackberry tones, and frequent mentions of jasmine at the sample cupping table. 

Doris’ first Diedrich roast of the coffee showcased notes of bright, clean mango and lemon candy with a zesty, crisp green grape acidity hints of sugar-browning notes like salted caramel and dried fig. Notably, the coffee is almost completely free of the sometimes-admired but often divisive savory-like tomato type flavors present in some Kenyas, and we felt it would make a great addition to our Crown Jewel menu for this, and many other reasons. 

While our brewing analysis for the week focuses on pour-over preparation, we’ve currently got the coffee queued up to taste as an espresso option as well. It’s almost a sure thing you could make a killer cold brew or flash-iced option with this Kenya as well. 

source

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger & Chris Kornman 

Ichamama is, by a margin of over 200 members, the largest cooperative factory under the Othaya Cooperative Society’s umbrella. Coffee from Ichamama has been a part of the Crown Jewel program since its inception in 2016 and made consecutive appearances on our menu for a number of years, in part due to the washing station’s participation in Royal’s “Red Cherry” program which paid premiums for additional sorting and quality separations. The factory is named after a river, which originates from the nearby Karama Hill. 

Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society, the umbrella organization that includes Ichamama Factory, is one of Kenya’s larger societies, with 19 different factories and more than 14,000 farmer members across the southern Nyeri region. Othaya Farmer Cooperative Society is one of the 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. Most often this dividend 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. 

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 is an ideal AA grade Kenya by the numbers, with about 90% of the coffee filling the 18-19 screen sizes, and basically zero visible defects. As with most of the other Kenyan coffees we’ve seen this year, it’s a little lower than the usual expectations for high density, but still globally about average. Moisture figures are picture perfect, dry and stable. 

The usual cultivars 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 

As usual, we sample roast all coffees first to approve them, with the next step being the roast trial. This Kenya Ichamama – and all Kenya coffee we have cup this year after all – I found clean cups with a great acidity and with an exciting potential of delicate sweetness. I picture it in a juicy and clean pour over brew. And I was not wrong. I just tasted kiwi, Meyer lemon, caramelized sugar, and some greenish cantaloupe, on a fresh pour over brew I was handed by the tasting room manager Josh Wismans.  

To explain how I have approached this roast I will say that overall, I have taken four simple gas movements. 

I started with 437.8F and 100% gas. I chose this starting point taking in mind that Kenya Ichamama is a dense coffee, and my goal was to do a short roast. Then I watch my exhaust temperature till it reaches close to 430F to start lowering the gas to 70%. I saw the exhaust rate of rise lowering too slowly and I decided to drop gas a bit more to 45%. At this point coffee started yellowing, and I marked the color change at 303F / 3:59 seconds. Immediately after color change I started dropping the gas again all the way to the lowest, 30%. The coffee was running smoothly during Maillard as I expected for about a minute but at 359F the bean temperature started trying to rise, then I opened the air flow and it worked perfectly. At this point air will clean the smoke from the drum but also help me to lower the temperature. That can happen if gas is at the lowest setting, otherwise more airflow can fuel the temperature. 

This coffee starts cracking at 379F. A bit early, but it was loud and clear. I let it run for 1:15 seconds and drop the coffee at 394.8F. In this case, I hit first crack with a high bean rate of rise that made me decide to kill the burners halfway, trying to have just enough power to finish the roast. On the cupping table: clean, dried fig, fruity, green grapes, lemon candy, orange, ripe mango, and salted caramel. I must admit that I wanted to taste the Ichamama right away after I finished the roast, and I brewed it. Although it was too fresh to brew, that first cup turned out to be my favorite with a ratio 1 to 18, I got a juicy and syrupy cup of coffee with some sweet grapefruit in the finish. This is great Kenya coffee to roast and to enjoy. 

 

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! 

Looking forward to another amazing arrival from Kenya, I was happy to see that this one had a familiar name. Some of the first Kenyan coffees I tried at Royal’s cupping table were from Ichamama, and having this one on the docket for roasting was a sentimental blessing.  

From experience, I know this coffee enjoys plenty of heat, and I started with a nearly identical charge temperature to Doris, 437F. The main difference in my approach was that I decided to use P7, and introduce fan speed to F3 right from the outset. I did want to spend a bit of time in Green/Drying, but not too much, so one minute after turning point, I increased heat to P8 and decreased fan speed to F1 for roughly 1:30. This helped to keep my RoR around its peak of 28F/min, with a nice even drop after adjusting to a gentler clip (back to P7 and F3). At yellowing, I reduced heat application to P6 and added fan to F4 in order to spend a good amount of time in Maillard. Finally, I increased fan speed to F5 just before, and decreased power to P5 just after, First Crack.  

This roast achieved my classic goal of spending an even amount of time in Green and Maillard (41% in both) with the remainder spent in Post-Crack development. I didn’t exceed my target drop temperature of 395F, which made me feel very accomplished.  

The cup here was as non-tomato as you can get. Honeylike sweetness and cranberry tart flavors came through from the outset, with green grape juiciness, and a backing of dark chocolate richness. The finish was all black tea, with a very nice honeysuckle floral overtone. Kenyan coffees are just fabulous, and this repeat winner is among the best. Enjoy as a filter drip – that sparkling clean flavor will come through even better! Though, if you’re prone to roasting a bit darker, this coffee would make an excellent espresso as well. Have at it.  

brew

Brew Analysis by Joshua Wismans 

This stunning coffee from the Ichamama cooperative factory both exemplifies and subverts what a Kenyan coffee can be. When dialing in our pour-overs, we found a world of flavors at different strengths that highlight the versatility of this coffee. Noticeable was how mellow the traditional Kenyan savoriness (think sun gold tomato) was in this coffee.  

On the cupping table, this coffee presented as delicate, fruity, and floral. For our first brew, we thought about bringing some depth and weight to the coffee. We chose the F70 for its pooling and single hole drip, hoping to bring out some roundness in the coffee. The ratio was updosed to 1:15 coffee to water, and the bloom extended to 60 seconds. This gave us a very high TDS of 1.61, but what we tasted was complex and intriguing. The brew had an interesting caramelized sugar sweetness, rose florality, and notes of melon, cherry, and lemon lime. 

We liked the body that the F70 gave the brew, but for our second brew, we brought our ratio down to 1:15.78, coarsened our grind to 12.5 and shortened the bloom time. Ending with a TDS of 1.4, the resulting brew showcased what really makes this coffee shine. Preserved was the delicacy of the coffee, with notes of jasmine and hibiscus showing alongside kiwi, lychee, and peach. 

This coffee brews great in a pour-over device that allows some immersion like the F70 or the Kalita Wave. Ground relatively coarse and brewed with a slow and steady pour, you can bring out the delicate fruit and tea flavors while giving the coffee a wonderful mouthfeel. In addition, because of how mellow the Kenyan savoriness is, this coffee should perform incredibly as a single origin espresso.  

Origin Information

Grower
1126 producers organized around the Ichamama Factory
Variety
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian
Region
Nyeri County, Kenya
Harvest
October-December
Altitude
1700 - 1890 masl
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

This coffee is sourced from family owned farms located on the southeastern slopes of the Aberdares mountain ranges in Nyeri County, Kenya.  Farmers deliver their harvested cherry to be processed at the Ichamama Factory (wet mill), which is managed by the Othaya Farmers Co-operative Society.  Cooperative members generally cultivate around 250 coffee trees on half-acre plots intercropped with Bananas, Grevillea, and Macadamia trees.