Price $196.72 per box
Box Weight 22 lbs
Flavor Profile Pink grapefruit, green apple, caramel, sweet, balanced
This is a traditional washed coffee from Muranga, Kenya, produced by 727 smallholders organized around the Gondo Factory.
The flavor profile is gently citric with lots of sweetness. We tasted cranberry, pink grapefruit, honey, and cinnamon.
Our roasters found the coffee to reach first crack a little on the early side and to have a large difference in measured color scores between whole bean and ground.
When brewed, our baristas noted the coffee was almost always syrupy, layered, and delicious, and found it easy to prepare on both conical and flat bottomed pour-overs.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Unlike many of the other Kenyan selections we’ve made this season for Crown Jewels, this peaberry not going to grab your attention with a screaming acid profile or unique savory fruit and spice flavors.
Instead, this is an unsubtly sweet coffee with a lot of refined elegance, we picked up some clean graham cracker and cinnamon flavors and, while not represented in bold on the word cloud, you can see scattered throughout our notes evidence of a clear floral profile, including hints of chamomile, honeysuckle, lemongrass, and jasmine.
The coffee’s characteristic Kenya-esque flavors include strong citrus support, especially in the form of pink grapefruit, and juicy cranberry. Keep an eye out for the subtle, fleeting hints of anise seed and ginger in the finish, a little flourish at the end of the cup that leaves you thinking simultaneously about the next sip and the one you’re still enjoying.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
Gondo and its sister washing stations are in a unique pocket of Kenya. Western Muranga County runs directly into the upland Aberdare Mountain range on rich red volcanic soil ideal for producing some of Kenya’s best coffees. Muranga is an oblong county that sits between the industrious Kiambu County, to the south, and the most famous coffee counties of Kenya’s central province: Nyeri, Kirinyaga, and Embu, to the north. The Aberdare range contributes significant climate influence over this part of Muranga, keeping the vegetation cooler and well-respirated, the way Mt. Kenya impacts its neighboring regions to the north.
Coffees from Gondo factory tend to be rich and tangy, with syrupy texture and tart stone fruit notes. Individual farmers in these fertile foothills average 250 coffee trees each, and half-acre plots per family. The Gondo processing station, or “factory”, as they’re known in Kenya, is one of three sites managed by the New Kiriti Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS), an umbrella organization that centralizes management and marketing relationships for their member factories. New Kiriti has 2,469 farmer members across the three factories, 727 of which deliver cherry to Gondo.
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 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.
Conservation is creeping into the discussion in certain places–understandably in the drier areas where water, due to climate change, cannot be as taken for granted—but for the most part Kenya continues to thoroughly wash and soak its coffees according to tradition. At Gondo, cherry is hand-sorted for ripeness and floated for density before accepted and depulped each day. After the coffee is washed, it’s soaked in fresh water for long periods of time to stop sugar fermentation and clean the parchment. The coffee is dried over a period of two weeks on raised beds, which are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control for optimal drying.
New Kiriti FCS includes the Kayu and Kirimahiga factories along with Gondo. The society was founded in 1998 and retains its main office at the Kayu factory, 17 kilometers from Kangema town, in the Mathioya district of Muranga County.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Who doesn’t love peaberries? The objectively adorable little seeds, which form as a single embryo instead of the usual two inside a coffee cherry, often represent around 5% of a given harvest. In some areas of the world, they’re given special reverence simply for their shape and size.
Here at Royal, we recognize a good one after tasting it. And this is one. Great specs here, as usual. Tight screen size distribution, high density, and stable moisture figures all represent some excellent grading practices. 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.
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 by Doris Garrido
Caracolillo as we call it in Spanish or its name in English: Peaberry, a coffee with a beautiful round shape consequence of a mutation. Instead of growing with its twin seed in the same cherry pod, it grows alone wrapping it by itself and ending up round. I read some people think that it is tastier, I do not know, but for sure it is special just by the way it looks. What would be a good approach to roast a coffee like this? There are some theories out there on how the heat transfers because of its shape, but here is what I did. I started the roasting plan with some green grading readings (dense, good moisture content and small beans) and looked for a fast roast. This is a juicy Kenya and we wanted to taste that.
I have started the roast at 444F/100% gas, left it there for about 4 minutes, and following the rate of rise and the Diedrich exhaust readings. I do this because it helps me to calculate how long I can maintain the gas power and determine how fast I can go. For this Kenya and its characteristics, I let it rise until 455F mainly because I was sure this coffee can take it. My second gas movement was made at 319F bean temperature, dropping gas to the lowest 30%.
Those 4 minutes of full gas helped to start the Maillard reactions and lasted 2 minutes, then the coffee started cracking. My rate of rise at first crack was a little high 28/60 seconds. I waited for a few seconds after first crack just to make sure coffee was on track and then killed the burners. I got enough power to finish with 1:21 seconds of post-crack development, and dropped at 392F.
Regarding airflow adjustments, I started with 0% air and added to 100% at 346F. I went to full air flow at this part to help removing the smog that was starting to build on the drum, looking for a cleaner final cup. Roasting with the burners on the lowest setting helps to start dropping the temperature when getting close to first crack. During that time, the coffee is releasing a lot of energy. If we take in mind that I did a good push in the beginning, coffee was in a race and at this moment and was going a little fast.
The total roast time was 7:13 minutes for this roast, and here the tasting notes were collected: Guava jelly, graham cracker, Greek yogurt, hints of grapefruit, honey, jasmine Honeysuckle, lemon like, mild red grapes Slight blackberry, soft sweet tart, mandarin orange, tea like, black tea, overly sweet. I would say that this coffee would do great on a fast roast, we enjoyed the final cup, clean, sweet, and complex!
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!
One of my favorite experiences at Royal when I first started here was trying coffees I wouldn’t have otherwise. The hallmark of those experiences was the weekly delivery of Kenya dark roast we’d get; having spent so much time in third wavey specialty coffee shops, I generally took Kenya coffees to always be roasted on the light side – excepting of course the ‘Kenya blends’ my parents drank back in the day. Nothing prepared me for the marshmallowy deliciousness of a super-dense Kenya peaberry, and the still-present crisp acidity that followed.
So what I set out to do with this Kenya peaberry was to emulate that experience. While I may not have achieved the dark roast greatness of those who perform it every day, I’d say that this coffee held up well to my treatment. I started with a high charge temperature of 455F, and the standard F2 fan and d6 drum speed, lowering to F1 fan at turning point to really pull this coffee through Green/Drying stage. Only at 3:40 / 320F did I revert to F2 and lower the power to P7. Just after yellowing, I increased fan speed further to F3, and reduced heat to P6, continuing the downward trend in RoR. I did want to keep the heat on for this dark roast, but I noticed RoR flattening out to 11F/min around 370F and increased fan speed to F4, all this just before First Crack. This had the desired effect of putting RoR back on its downward track, to about 7F/min – perhaps a little too slow for the Post-Crack Development I wanted. At 8:30 / 390F I increased heat to P7 just to give an extra push through this extreme low in RoR, something I’d probably avoid in the future, preferring to make this sort of move just a touch before First Crack. F6 fan speed evened this out and abated smoke, and I finished this roast at 10:10 / 404.6F.
This was my kind of dark roast. Big dark chocolate notes when hot, cooling into soft peachiness and creamy caramel sweetness. Perhaps even spiced pear? There was a touch of roastiness, but hey, this is a dark roast! This note faded on cooling, and all that sweetness just came right to the front of the queue. The best part of this roast to me, however, was the soft and velvety mouthfeel. Who knows? With roasts like this, I might even turn to the dark side…
Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano
Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here.
We are gearing towards the end of Kenyan season here at Royal Coffee. With that being said, these later arrivals are not lacking in quality. With the help of Chris, we are able to take a deep dive into what profile makes this Gondo shine on our sample roaster. Our HD profile brought out some great notes from this coffee as it was zingy and juicy of your typical Kenyan with some nice guava, citrus and herbal notes. The LD profile offered a different take on this coffee as the cup had a flatter body and was slightly dry compared to the first. It brought out lemon, chocolate notes and overall softer than the first one. The more interesting of the two was certainly the HD roast. This profile would be a great way to analyze what direction to take this Kenyan coffee when scaling up.
You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast
Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast
Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill
Autumn is decidedly arriving here in the east bay, determined in part by the cooler, crisper days, foggy mornings stretching later and later, and the assortment of delicious East African coffees coming out of the Port of Oakland. It is my second Fall on the team at The Crown, and there is something soothing and familiar about analyzing such beautifully processed and sorted Kenyan coffees. Doris sent us a delicious roast of this peaberry lot from the Gondo processing station in Muranga County, Kenya, that we brewed up on a few of cone and flatbed brewers. We received consistently delicious brews featuring syrupy bodies and layers of fruit, floral, and spice notes. For this analysis, I want to focus on a particular brew from the Kalita Wave perfect for early Autumn, and a brew from the Hario V60 that felt like the perfect late Autumn coffee.
On the Kalita Wave, we started with a dose of 19 grams ground at an 11, on the coarser end of the grind size range we’ll typically use here in the tasting room. After an initial pulse of 50 grams of water, blooming for 45 seconds, a pulse of 150 grams of water, and a final pulse of 100 grams, the brew finished draining in 3:00, with a TDS of 1.46, generally in the range of most of the pourover brews that we serve. This brew was juicy and bold, easy to sip while watching the fog. It offered a honey sweetness and body, with notes of grapefruit, mandarin, plum and mango, a layer of soft cinnamon spice, and floral whispers of violet and chamomile. The rich body was balanced by a dynamic range of lovely flavors.
On the V60, we played around with more grind sizes and loved what we got from 19 grams of beans ground at a 10.5 on our EK43. We used a similar brewing recipe, and the resulting brew was even more syrupy with bold notes of brown sugar, grapefruit, and cocoa. This brew was rich, sweet, bright, and balanced, with the boldness to cut through grayness and a chill.
This coffee performed beautifully in both cone and flatbottom brewers, featuring a pleasing body and an assortment of lovely flavors. We found it easy to dial to highlight both clean, sweet, fruity flavors and a rich body, and I look forward to sipping it on more cool, gray days!