Brian Beyke

Deeper Roots Coffee - Kabare AA Kenya

Brian Beyke

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I have no idea why it has taken me this long to visit one of Deeper Roots’ coffees in this form.  They are one of the main roasters here in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I’ve had nearly every coffee they’ve put out (since finding out about them) but I usually reserve my DR drinking for the local shops.  Several of the places I will frequent in town serve Deeper Roots coffees and I enjoy giving business to shops as well.  I noticed last year when I would buy their bags to brew at home I visited the shops less, and part of me wanted to get back out there and be a part of that social aspect, but this Kabare had me anxious.  After having a cup of it at Rohs Street Cafe here in town, I knew I had to pick some up.  Here we look at one of Deeper Roots’ Grand Cru selections: Kabare Kenya AA.  

Details:

Roaster: Deeper Roots Coffee

Region: Kabare, Kirinyaga East District, Kenya

Producer: Kabare Farmers Coop Society Limited

Process:  Washed & sundried.  

Varietal: SL 28, SL 34, Limited Ruiru 11

Elevation: 1,900m

Brew Method:

Able Kone | 44g © to 660g (w) | 4:30 total time | 205 degrees

Initial sips are clean, juicy, and tart. Chocolate strands keep the bottom in check and create a pleasing balance to the cranberry, raspberry, currant, and passion fruit notes that tickle the tongue with a grapefruit acidity and a hints of spice in the finish. 
Peach, apricot, and plum sweetness begins to emerge from the cup and refreshes the mouth washing most of the tartness away. Sweet strands now seem to take form, like biting open a honey straw and drawing it out bit by bit.  
As that sweetness comes out more it reminds me more of English toffee. 
The cup grows gentle in intensity, but still overflows with deep and wide spiced plum, grape, golden raisin notes amidst that caramel/toffee sweetness.
Juicy, sweet, honey.

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Brew Method:

Woodneck | 34g © to 480g (w) | 4:40 total time | 201 degrees (preferred method)

Really prominent maple notes in the beginning of the cup. Begins very citrusy sweet Lemon and grapefruit notes in the highs swim in a syrupy body with caramel and cocoa powder and spiced plum and apricot in the finish - a little nuttiness or earthiness seems to be there too. 
As it cools it smooths out into creamier caramel notes with a more refreshing and juicy quality to the sweetness - reminds me of how it feels when eating watermelon.  I almost seem to get watermelon jolly rancher-like sweetness to the finish too.  Still spiced fruits of peach, grape, plum dance around carried still into a slightly drying and dusty cocoa finish. 
Cooling further it stays softly juicy, deep and lasting grape sweetness and spiced plum in a creamy and slightly tingly finish. 
Maple, juicy, sweet.  

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Brew Method:

Clever | 23g © to 350g (w) | 2:30 then drop | 203 degrees

A bright and tangy introduction to otherwise creamy body with dark honey notes in the mids and cocoa notes in the lows. 
Quicky starts to grow juicy with melon notes and raspberry, with spiced plum hanging in the finish. 
While still juicy, the cocoa notes seem to rise up a bit along with a little nuttiness in the middle of the cup, but the finish has swirls more distinguishable of honeydew and cantaloupe.  The grapefruit-like acidity still survives beyond the finish. 
Cooling more the cup grows sweeter and a little more crisp, has a slightly syrupy body, but the acidity still hangs pretty strong in the cup.  

Tangy, juicy, sweet.

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 202 degrees 

Diving into the cup I am greeted by cranberry tartness in the highs, dark honey notes in the mids, falling to a cocoa powder finish.  Medium bodied and bright acidity that finds itself a bit pointy rear mouth in the finish.  

As it cools the dark notes mellow a bit, and so does the tartness.  A rising of lemon and grapefruit citrus make their way in to the cup, with a musky and rather spiced finish.  Slowly, like an iceberg ahead in the distance, you can sense that maple sweetness begin to emerge from the cup - along with it you notice sweeter fruits too.  I’ll let this sit a few and come back…

…aaaaand as expected - an explosion of juiciness in the cup.  Maple syrup notes welcome you aboard as your pallet is greeted by the likes of spiced plum, apple, honeydew and cantaloupe, I’m even catching strands of vanilla tangled up in the fruit notes.

Grape notes start to come out (with hints of tropical fruits too) along with more sugary sweetness.  While becoming a little more delicate, the body starts to thicken up and the finish has some winey characteristics to it.  Still has a refreshing and juicy ending to each sip, with the long finish remaining a bit spiced.

Bright, juicy, sweet.  

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) wider grind | 3:45 total time | 202 degrees 

Quick notes from a wider grind than I normally do.  Only putting this here to remind me to check this with more coffees as the notes were pleasing.

Honeydew notes off the bat with a honey coating on the tongue.  Medium bodied, not as strong acidity initially.  A little more loose than my other makes.  As it cools more juiciness comes out, cranberry and tangy notes sit in with a grapefruit acidity that lingers in the long finish. Less cocoa powder than in other methods, moreso spiced plum, with rear mouth splashes and woody finish.

Melon, tangy, spiced fruits.

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Brew Method:

Bonmac | 34g © to 480g (w) | 5:00 total time | 203 degrees 

Syrupy and tangy intro: cranberry, currant, guava, tomato, spiced plum seem to be present.  A little more herbal/woodsy notes than fruitied notes.  Bright, orange acidity top mid-mouth.  Less cocoa notes in the finish than other methods but still there.  Finish in my mouth like I’ll drinking a brown ale. 
As it cools I get some really nice and sweet honey strands underneath, but what is above that is incredibly bright and tangy. Almost too much to handle.  It tames a bit the more it cools, but still is a bit abrasive.  Cranberry notes, apple, still spiced in the finish. 
Syrupy, sweet, tangy. 
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This offering is the jaaaaam, and the tasting notes on the bag were hard to deviate from in almost every make.  While carrying some similar notes to other coffees I’ve had lately, I was incredibly impressed with the way this coffee moves through the cup.  To me it rode like a wave: in and out, in and out.  Some coffees are displayed like a ladder, where you move from rung to rung as the cup goes from most intense to least.  This coffee would come and go, and not just in 3 stages and out.  At times it was syrupy and then it lightened out.  The acidity would be strong, then it would die down… and then come back again.  The sweetness was prominent, then refreshing, then crisp and settled and then lingering and strong again.  The one thing I did notice, which is just most likely a qualm of mine, is the acidity was pretty dominant in the entire cup, and through most makes.  It isn’t bad by any means (it’s actually one of the most enjoyable coffees I’ve had in recent memory), I just know that if it were less intense it would increased my enjoyment of the cup.  I imagine others wouldn’t share my opinion and, in fact, would welcome the acidity found in the cup.  Also that second make of the Kalita where I got the lighter notes makes me want to continue to mess with widening my grind or ratio slightly to see if it continues to make the cup a little more approachable without losing the quality of the coffee.
Do me a solid and if you are looking for a roaster to check out, keep Deeper Roots from here in Cincinnati, Ohio on your radar.

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.