Roast: Medium light
Body: Light, syrupy
Acidity: Lemony, mild
Notes: Candied plum, sweet lime
Aroma: Blackberry, citrus
Needless to say, Kenyan coffees often leave little to the imagination. Lacking balance but boasting flavor, such coffees project a beautiful amalgamation of crisp citrus and tangy tropical fruit, often backed by a high acidity and full body. The Barn's Kii AA is no exception to this notion. Sourced from the Rungeto Cooperative on the slopes of Mt. Kenya (Africa's second tallest mountain) in the Kirinyaga district of the Central Province, the beans of the Kii Factory are as unique as they are representative of the potential for the success of natural, traditional, smallholder-farmer-oriented coffee cooperatives. The site overlooks the famous elephant migration route that connects Aberdare and the Mt. Kenya forest, These beans are a red Bourbon hybrid, designed to be hardy and drought-resistant, while maximizing that rich Bourbon quality adored by coffee fans everywhere. The 'AA' represents these beans' larger size relative to the smaller AB and PB sizes usually offered.
Now that we've covered the origins of this coffee, let's really dig into how this coffee tastes. The first thing you'll notice is the rush of tart plum/currant. Once you've passed this delightful splash of rich fruit, you'll notice a syrupy, rounded mouthfeel that really complements this coffee's flavor well. This coffee carries a pleasant, natural sweetness from start to finish, but maintains a lemony acidity that could be too much for some people. You might notice notes of lemon or lime, plum, grape, dates, or even blackberry. The Barn's cupping report reads: "Blackcurrant. Candied grape. Syrupy."
After cupping this coffee, I tested it as a pour-over, French press, Aeropress, espresso, cold brew, and iced. I found that an inverted Aeropress brew with a steeping time of 45 seconds brought out the best of this coffee's freshness and fruity brightness. Make sure to let your water cool down a bit before soaking the grounds; heat your water below 200-210 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce potential bitterness and avoid overdoing the acidity of your cup.
Thanks for reading this week's specialty coffee review. I hope you all enjoyed our new review format; we're transitioning into a writeup style that focuses just as much on the cupping report as the origins and roaster's impact on the coffee. Kenya Kii AA will be the first of three reviews of The Barn's roasts; make sure to check out their website and roastery here!