If you weren’t aware, peaberries are different from the norm. This is not just in how they are formed, as in many ways they are just a screen. If we forget about the mutant (Siamese coffee twin thing) and talk about what can happen in the cup. Sometimes we have less top-end acidity, yet there can be more complexity and body. This peaberry does exactly that. I absolutely love the AB, it is bright elegant, and the best Kenya of those (AAs and AB’s) that I have tried, this year.
If, like me (in a coffee way) you may well have a soft spot for the “classic” SL28 centric blackcurranty Kenya. This peaberry reminds me a little of when the famous Kenya Gethumbwini was at its best. Before 2007, and world fame it was just this big fat Ribena-like coffee. People couldn’t believe coffee could taste like that.
This is our second of two Kenya coffees from Thiriku Mill, taking the place of Ndaroini, from last year. More on the coffee revolution here.. As minnows in the coffee world, we try and make a difference with every bag that we buy. I have tried to explain a little more about it here. Later in the year, we have a few new Kenyas coming from the inspirational Vava.Including something I may have said previously that I wouldn’t do…!
Farm/ Mill Stats
Kenya Thiriku Peaberry
Producer group: Thiriku Farmers Co-operative Society.
Varietals: SL28, 34, and Ruiru 11
Process: Fully washed and dried on raised beds.
Altitude: 14-1700 Meters above sea level
Members:1770 smallholder farmers deliver to Thiriku Mill.
Area: Nyeri County, Central Kenya.
Average farm size: 1 Hectare.
Roast: Hot Drop, beat it with a stick to achieve a light Filter.
Cup potential: Filter
Aromatics: Blackcurrants| Body: Light, creamy on cooling| Acidity: Classic blackcurrants & grapefruit.|
The first time I tried this lot, I could sense just how flexible this coffee was going to be. For me, this is more blackcurranty than the real thing. If you were to stand (or sit) by a currant bush and eat one berry after another, you would notice a variance in ripeness and citrus. This is one for another day…
In the cup, this is deeply intense, sweet, and all about blackcurrants. There is a jammy sweetness and a touch of grapefruity acidity. These elements harmonise, right down to cold and this peaberry can be brewed in almost any way.
Recipe: 60-65g per litre.
Iced Filter: 100g of coffee, Brew into 1 Litre of filter brewed hot over a Kg of Ice. Let the ice melt. This is so good right now. If brewing on a day over 30C, You might want to increase the amount of coffee and ice.
Cup potential: Espresso
This is as good in espresso as it is in filter, with no deviation of roast. Rare!. The flavour elements are basically the same, and due to the fact that the peaberry doesn’t have the wild acidity of the AB, it is more Ribena than coffee.
To get that classic blackcurrant dessert factor, we brewed this as normal ratios, just extracted a touch longer. If brewed and then mixed with the best whole milk you can get.
Milk-Based drinks: 1:2 17g+ etc
Espresso: 1: 2.65-3 Something in the region of 17g in and 45-50g out in early to mid 30 seconds.
Thiriku Coffee Mill and the Revolution
To start with, Thiriku Mill has been producing some excellent specialty grade coffee, independently since 2000. The board who run the co-op are democratically elected. The story changes here. In this first season, 120Ksh has been paid per Kilo for cherry, of which 100Ksh (1$) goes to the grower. The 20Ksh goes to the co-operative to re-invest and re-pay historic debt. Although this isn’t a huge amount of money, it is twice the norm. Cherry is something like 1/6th of the finished weight of roasted and there are various fixed costs, processing, transportation and loans, which are now being reorganised. Trabocca has employed an agronomist on the ground who is making a plan to reduce inorganic fertilizers and fungicides and replace them with organics. Also administering these at the right time makes a big difference in their effectiveness and how much you need.
The goal is to increase cup quality and yield, which will both increase value and incomes for everyone in the co-operative. I am a huge fan of this model and so happy that James Gourmet could play a part from the beginning.