Bean: Washed SL28 AA, Ruiru 11 AA
Shop: Has Bean Coffee, United Kingdom.
Kiriga Estate: Background information.
The coffee from ‘Has Bean’ (home to World Barista Champion Dale Harris) that I am reviewing today comes from the Kiriga Estate in Kenya. This Estate has a long history and it all started in 1954 when the first coffee was planted by colonists. In 1979 Aloysius Gakunga, who had dreamed of owning Kiriga Estate since he was a boy, became the new owner and things started to flourish. Gakunga planted several varieties on the estate that were more disease-resistant and started working intensively with locals to run the estate. In the year 2014 Mr. Gakunga passed away and his son, Dr. Brian Ndungíu Gakunga, became the new owner of the estate.
Kiriga Estate: welfare fund
At Kiriga Estate all workers are seen as family, and family help each other out. Dr. Brian Ndungíu Gakunga noticed that banks didn’t hand out loans to the workers in case of family emergencies. This felt wrong and so Dr. Brian Ndungíu Gakunga founded the Kiriga Welfare Fund: a fund that is supported by the everybody on the farm and enabling workers to get a loan in times of need. An amazing initiative that shows how close this ‘Kiriga family’ really is.
Kiriga Estate is located in Thika, Muranga, Kenya and sits at an altitude of 1550m and 1650m. Kiriga Estate holds a few varieties: predominantly the SL28 variety (world-renowned for its quality); two hectares of Ruiru 11 variety (Which has a good resistance to coffee berry disease and leaf rust); some K7 variety and a field of the newest Batian variety. About 60% of the coffee that the estate produces is AA/AB.
Kiriga Estate: Opening the package.
I was really excited when I got the package of coffee from Has Bean. The Kiriga Estate has had good reviews in the past, so I can’t wait to start reviewing. I open up the package and take a deep sniff. A sweet luscious chocolate scent comes forth. As I inhale slowly again I notice some fruitiness on the edge as well. I take the two different beans and start chewing. Immediately a spike of sourness appears that is quickly accommodated by a sweetness. It is after just a few chews that the fruitiness changes into the flavour of blackcurrant. This is raising my expectations quite a bit.
I weigh 20 grams of coffee and start grinding. The scent that comes of the ground coffee is once again sweet, but with a spicy edge to the nose at the end. Preparing the porta-filter and flushing my system, the scent keeps getting stronger.
Kiriga Estate: The brewing.
I start brewing and the syrup that crawls out of my porta-filter has some nice beige/brown colouring to it. I stop the brew at 29 seconds and slowly inhale the scent. Fruity, Blackcurrant and sweetness are the things that come to mind here. It’s not like smelling a full-on fruity Yirgacheffe, but the subtle notes are definitely there. Time to sip.
Kiriga Estate: The tasting.
I take a sip and slurp oxygen inside before swirling the coffee in my mouth. I also chew on the coffee a little. This coffee really starts at the front of my mouth and works it’s way to the back. It starts with the sweetness and fruitiness. A soft blackcurrant can be noticed, gradually getting a little stronger when the sourness kicks in on the sides of my tongue. Pleasantly though. The subtle chocolate sweetness appears in the background and then a very special thing happens. As I swallow the chocolate gets a teeny bitter and is accompanied with a spicy pepper-like feeling all the way in the back of my mouth. I like this sensation a lot. It is also the full body of the coffee, and it’s full-fat milk-like mouthfeel that makes it a great drink. The acidity is medium and not overly apparent either.
The aftertaste just keeps lingering and when I exhale through my closed mouth, the flavours keep coming back again and again.
This coffee also did an excellent job in a cappuccino, flat white and other latte-based drinks. Not only is the colour of the crema perfect for latte-art, the fruitiness is really nice on the milk. What a creamy-sweet sensation.
Kiriga Estate: The verdict.
Has Bean already has a name to live up to, and they managed to do so with this Kiriga Estate coffee. The coffee is nicely balanced and juicy and because the Blackcurrant flavour isn’t ‘in-your-face’, you can easily drink this coffee all day. Please notice the pepper-like sensation that comes forth at the end of your sip, it will give another dimension to the coffee-drinking-experience. Wanna spice things up by making a latte-based drink? No problem! The fruitiness, acidity and mouthfeel are just perfect for a latte-based drink. I think this would make for a nice X-mas gift by the way.
Has Bean has told me that they ship their coffee internationally to Japan, the USA and Europe and also have a subscription-based coffee line. Click on this link to go to their website.