Brian Beyke

PERC Coffee - Kenya Kabare AA

Brian Beyke

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Savannah’s PERC Coffee is doing some great things.  I’m not strictly speaking of their Top Shelf line, which is great to experience some standout selections, but I don’t want that to take away from the fact that they just roast good coffees, period.  The good side to companies having a line of offerings like “Top Shelf” is more nerdy coffee folk like me might peruse those selections before the rest.  The bad side is that any coffee drinker may think their other offerings are lesser quality.  We recently looked at their Chelelektu, Ethiopia that was beyond impressive, so we’ve already debunked that myth.  Today, though, we do look at one of their Top Shelf offerings, one that is no stranger to the table, and see what the Kabare Kenya AA has to offer.

Farmers in Kabare planted their first coffee trees in I954.  The Coop has 11 wet mills namely Kiringa, Konyu,Karani, Kiang’ombe, Kaboyo, Mukure, Mukengeria, Kimandi, Kathata, Kiangothe, and Kiamiciri. The Coop is located within Kabare and Kirima locations of  Gichugu Division, Kirinyaga East District  on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. The 11 Wet mills in the coop have a membership  of 12,300  farmers.  

The wet mill’s current production stands at 350,000 Kg of Cherry. The Coop has expressed interest in partnering with it’s marketing agent Sustainable Management Services Limited to implement a coffee quality improvement project with the aim of increasing the yields to over 600,000 Kg and getting the wet mill certified Rainforest alliance

Farmers selectively hand pick red ripe cherries  that are delivered for wet milling the same day. The parchment is then fermented, washed and sun dried . Dry parchment is milled and bagged at Socfinaf coffee mills and then transported to SMS Ltd warehouses. The Coffee is then sold either through the Nairobi Central Auction or directly to overseas buyers.

 

Details:

Roaster: PERC Coffee

Region: Central Kenya, Kirinyaga East District

Farm: Kabare Factory

Process: Fully Washed and Sun Dried

Varietal: SL 28, SL34, and limited Ruiru 11

Elevation: 1,900m

 

Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 199 degrees | 1.41 TDS | 21.04% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Near candy-like sweetness in the dry aroma and a nose more similarly to warm berries and pie crust.

Diving in though…whoa mamma.  You are layered with juicy notes.  Like, flavor upon flavor upon flavor.  Okay… Let’s try to dissect this.

Bright and clear high cranberry splashes on the palate that lay on an immensely buttery and juicy middle that introduce you to the floral notes that ultimately descend into the low notes and flutter out into the lingering finish.

Digging further you find this borderline syrupy meets super juicy body that carries almost bubbling or sparkling notes of cranberry that are always dancing on the tip of the tongue (I literally felt it jumping up and down), sundried tomato, cherry, grapefruit, passion fruit, currant, plum, and peach with slightly herbal tangles as it meets the floral notes that ultimately end in a more autumn leaves/tea leaf fashion.  It still carries a TON of juiciness even into the lingering finish, with hints of wood and sprinkled with cocoa powder.

One thing of note is how clean this coffee is.  The more you sip though, the more tangy that front end becomes and you notice some stone fruit and honey sweetness, too, emerge from the cup with a rapidly developing intensity.  Dried fruits and even faint whiffs of vanilla bean also begin to flesh out as the cup reaches the end, still tangy on the front and a lingering cream cheese icing sweetness in the end.

 

Clean, sparkling cranberry, juicy stone fruit.

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Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 1:55 total time | 198 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.00% Ext.

Clear, syrupy, and juicy intro to the cup.  Tingly cranberry arrives first, with this dense, buttery body growing underneath with notes of apple pie, plum, currant, and floral infused honey finishing, carried into notes of autumn leaves, cinnamon, and rich cocoa. It has a bit of a drying finish, like cinnamon baked apples. Medium bodied, light acidity, sweet, floral aromatics.

Diving further it grows a bit more nectary in it sweetness, and a bit more rich in body.  The finish now has a bit of nuttiness to it, creamy and buttery like peanut butter or honey butter.  The brightness stays clean on the front of the sips, with lemon and grapefruit citrus intensity growing in the long finish.  Molasses sweetness is growing more along with dense, pungent fruit notes of cherry, currant, mixed berries and plum, cherry pie specifically now it seems.  Still carries notes of cocoa, tea leaves, and almost hints of lavender in the finish.

The front end grows more lively and sweet while the back end grows more savory, or maybe it’s just this constantly moving front end with this solidly rich chocolate backbone.  Either way, it’s flavorful at the beginning of each sip with an incredibly long, flavorful, and resonant finish.

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Brew Method:

Shaken Iced Bonmac | 28g © to 280g (w) | 140g ice | 2:30 total time | 198 degrees | TDS | % Ext.

Bright initially, hard candy-like mouthfeel, green apple, cranberry pixie sticks, raspberry and/or cherry tootsie-pop (whatever the red ones are), even peachy sweetness in there in the finish.  Splashy sweet, almost like gushers.  Effervescent mouthfeel, bubbly, and I’m not kidding about the tootsie pops, it’s dead on, especially as chocolate joins in the finish.  

This is refreshing, flavorful, and a bit different than other iced brews.  Has a lingering citrus note on the palate but also lingering juicy sweetness.  Dried fruits seems to exist too, but moreso in the aftertaste.  The longer it sits the more caramel sweetness and autumn leaves-like notes come out.  Prune, raisin, and still crisp berry notes, chocolate, spice.

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 530g (w) | 3:55 total time | 208 degrees | 1.42 TDS | 20.40% Ext.

Soft citrus and floral aromas in the cup.

Very juicy start.  Crisp front end, a bit tangy, cranberry, lime, and melon notes seem to intro the cup with honey and blackberry in the finish.  It’s sweet, and develops a deep syrupy saturation to compliment the clean juicy splashes.  Quite an enjoyable body.  

It’s a very sparkling addition to waffles, and it’s a syrupy addition to bacon.  Not my favorite breakfast coffee pairing, but wanted to mention that.

Very pungent sweetness as it cools,  with a deep and complex web of passion fruit, cranberry, raspberry, currant, melon that I can’t quite pinpoint, apricot, raisin, lemon and plum.

The acidity is quite balanced in this method, maybe some lemon and a bit of grapefruit, but relatively comfortably compared to other coffees I’ve had.  Doesn’t really have much of the spice, nuttiness, or chocolate like previous methods which could be seen as good, bad, or indifferent depending on your preferences.  

 

Tangy, juicy, syrupy sweet finish.

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Brew Method:

Espresso | Crossland CC1 | Bottomless double basket | 19g in | 40g out | 0:29 total time | 202 degrees

Bright, cranberry and lemon, really creamy underneath.  Develops into sweet but tart blue raspberry candy notes and now a bit syrupy.  Bright floral infused ginger acidity.  Chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup finish.

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:20 total time | 201 degrees | 1.36 TDS | 20.15% Ext.

Sharp acidity amidst a juicy and syrupy body.  Cranberry, pomegranate, lime and raspberry reduction, very lively, and splashy moments of currant, plum, and baked apples.  Very clean, medium bodied.

Sipping the coffee restricts the flavor intake, but diving further if you give a few slurps you come away with a smooth caramel coating on the sides of the mouth, candy apple notes among other fruity candy-like sweetness.  With that approach, you can notice soft floral notes right down the center of the mouth.

Actually, this method is quite interesting. The coffee quiets down, a low lying syrupiness lays the foundation for those floral notes to draw out more, along with light squeezes of lemon here and lime there. The flavor is a little more condensed, a little less sweet, but a bit more enjoyable.

The final sips still have some crisp berry fronts, then gets juicy and sweet almost like biting into a juicy watermelon with a creamy, near buttery ending with light hints of spice.

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This coffee, from my recollection, was similar to the offerings of it I had in the past.  It had a clean cup presence, but also a really standout body- syrupy at times and juicy at others, and both simultaneously.  It was tangy, it was sweet, it was overly enjoyable.  I wished I had the time to brew this on siphon, but I just never got around to it.  I will say, I think I prefered having this coffee earlier in the year.  While I have loved this coffee from all three roaster’s I’ve tried it from, at times I felt the profile was a bit more welcomed in the Spring months before the summer heat kicked in.  Unfortunately I also held on to this review for too long and it is no longer available for you to experience on your own, but PERC Coffee’s offering definitely popped, and I look forward with great anticipation the return of this coffee next season.  

 

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.