I have absolutely loved being a part of Compelling & Rich’s journey as much as they have been a part of mine. If you aren’t connected with Kian on social media, you are missing out on a guy who is passionate about the coffee community, and about the Los Angeles coffee scene he is a part of. Not only is he a class A dude, nailing the roasts and selecting some really great limited lots, but he is not shy about popping into shops around the area and drinking from the other roasters both LA and afar. Kian has done a lot of leg work to get to where he is, and it is finally starting to pay off as the word is getting out and demand is growing and growing. Towards the end of August, around my birthday, he was raving about this Peaberry lot he had in from his favorite region- Nyeri, Kenya. Not too long after that did I receive a package from him- coffee and birthday card included. Seriously, this guy is stand-up, and only growing more and more desirable as a roaster to always keep on your radar. Let’s dive into this bag of Karatina Peaberry and see what all the commotion was about.
The Karatina factory sits in east Nyeri county, named after the surrounding Karatina town. It’s another member of the Barichu Farmer’s Cooperative Society (“FCS”), where we’ve purchased many lots in the past - Gatomboya, Gaturiri, etc - whose name to us is synonymous with quality and consistency. The society has topped 1000 members, all of whom grow varietalsSL-28, SL-34, and Ruiri-11. These individual factories are responsible for wet milling - pulping, fermenting, washing, and raised beddrying. Sorting through cherry first, as well as sorting measures throughout the washing, drying, and dry-milling phases of processing, equates to a clarity in the cup rarely rivaled. The PBoutturn from Karatina cupped with exceptional sweetness, and with fruitflavors equally sweet andclean.
Roaster: Compelling & Rich
Region: Kenya, Nyeri - Karatina Mill
Farm: Barichu Farmers Cooperative Society
Process: Washed process
Varietal: SL-28, SL-34, Ruiru 11
Elevation: 1,700 - 1,850m
V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 1:55 total time | 201 degrees | 1.40TDS | 21.00% Ext.
The cup carries a soft intro, but in that it is cleanly syrupy. The finish leaves trails of spice, and even lingering citrus notes that creep in brighter than how you meet them during the sips.
Most notably you find apricot, still clean almost sparkling on the front of each sip, the middle carries a raw honey body, with a drying finish that enters a but citrusy, grows a bit dusty and dense like cocoa, and the finishes with faint trails of florals.
The sips grow a bit more juicy, with guava also seeming to enter, dried kiwi, dried papaya, lemon, and finishing with hints of spice, orange, and currant. The finish dances on this line of cherry tomato, and then caramelized brown sugar and cranberry. Those sensations go back and forth.
Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.40 TDS | 20.95% Ext. (Immersion mode)
Really nice start to the cup. Sweetness underneath, almost a candy or glazed donut-like, with a really bright grapefruit and orange citrus note on the front with tea-leaf spice cleaning up in the finish. Lightly syrupy, lightly juicy, creamy and delicate icing-esque rich body.
The cup continues to grow more juicy, more sweet, with those creamy notes melting silkily into brown sugar and butter in the finish, with the tails of every single note giving up floral touches on the very tips, still ending with nips of cinnamon and tea-spice in the rear of the mouth. Fruit flavors of pear, pomegranate, apricot, peach jam, with tacky date sweetness growing through the finish continue to tickle, tease, and delicate and densely tease.
Further cooling gives up crisp, clean notes of baked apples, cream, and caramel- sweet, spiced, comfortably bright, with a really creamy and juicy body.
Citrus, cream, stone fruit, spice.
The Dragon | 20g © to 320g (w) | 1:10 add outer water | 3:15 begin plunge | 4:30 end time | 210 degrees | 1.37 TDS | 23.16% Ext.(Immersion mode)
Whoa. There is a LOT going on in this cup. First, there is a spiced juiciness to the cup that is really welcomed, and that spice carries into a more creamy finish. Peachy sweetness comes out in a cobbler-like fashion, with honey and dried fruits dancing in the finish. Again, florals dance in the tail of every sip, sips that leave the mouth with thoughts of fresh caramels and peanut butter fudge.
The finish just carries this most unique honey/caramel syrupiness. It could be the way it interacts with the stone fruits, but is just a really big highlight of the cup. As it cools, the citrus notes are clean, crisp, and balanced in brightness. While the mouthfeel grows drying, there is a English Toffee sweetness that lingers on. Final sips are peach syrup, floral and honey, with spiced, dry orange and berry preserve saturation lingering.
Gino Dripper | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 201 degrees | 1.36 TDS | 20.45% Ext. (preferred method)
Mmmm. This cup has a really interesting acidity. It seems like cooked pear at first, just quick but balanced in the cup with apricot, plum, and raisin growing afterwards- spiced, juicy, and then ending with a creamy sweet finish.
It carries some neat complexity to it. As it cools it remains juicy, creamy, and sweet, with pops of interesting flavors: olive, peach cobbler, malt, and cinnamon raisin bread most notably. Still spiced, still crisp and clean, dessert-like with it’s pie-like and brown sugar sweetness.
The latter half of the cup grows even sweeter. Brown sugar caramelized like honey dripping down your throat, with such a clean profile, delicate saturation of fruits, vanilla, and those florals come back out, a bit more prominent than other makes and more like spring flowers than your usual Yirgacheffe florals.
The final sips lose most the spice and leave you with notes of peaches and cream candies and butter pecan ice cream- clean, sweet, lingering notes of soft orange, delicious.
Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:45 total time | 200 degrees | 1.35 TDS | 20.00% Ext.
Mmmm. Some days I really love cups like this. This is probably the most delicate make of the coffee. Really, really clean cup. Lightly syrupy cup, gently spiced, gently sweetened, and perfectly acidic. Just sprinkled with brown sugar and cream, with soft apricot sweetness leading baked gala apple slices and delicately smoothed with pistachio in the finish. Light hints of clove, cinnamon, and orange peel exist, with the acidity joining in a brisk caramel strand akin to caramel apple cider down the center of the tongue. While not as floral as other makes, deep slurps reveal complex herbals and spring florals on the fringes of each one, buried among the lightly caramel body.
The cooling isn’t my absolute favorite in this method, but continues to remain a bit lower in sweetness, with lightly spiced apple skin being the most detectible note.
Gah, Kian was absolutely right. Every single preparation of this coffee gave up the goods…and the goods were heavenly. It’s hard to nail down exactly what was exceptional about the cup without going back through its entire profile. It was clean, filled with stone fruit juiciness, incredibly sweet, carried just the right amount of spice to dance each and every taste, and it was densely pleasing as it continued to unfold sip after sip. While the second half of the cup in some makes just let out this enormous creaminess, others would find subtle complexities that only further add to the entire picture that this coffee is able paint. On top of that, the acidity continued to line the cup ever so beautifully through the end of the cup, never forsaking that “Kenya” profile.
This offering was sexy as hell- pretty much the staple reaction to a Compelling & Rich coffee.
Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.