Brian Beyke

Tanager Coffee Roasters - Kiang'ombe Kenya

Brian Beyke


Tanager Coffee Roasters takes its name from a beautiful group of songbirds that thrive in trees and woodlands throughout the Americas. Tanagers are unique and very important to the growing process of coffee and their migration patterns are a contributing factor to healthy environmental conditions in the growing regions.  Likewise, seeing these birds in their hometown of Portland, Oregon had CJ from Tanager thinking of approaching coffee in a like manner: investing in the regions of their coffee at both ends of the table.  

Coffee Roasters have this double persona where they have the ability to be present and invested in our cities and in the coffee growing regions. Tanager Coffee Roasters is committed to interacting with their neighbors and city as well as the farmers they work with, in a way that encourages and develops community. Their ultimate goal as coffee roasters is to create links so strong between our customers and farmers that we no longer think in terms of “Seed to Cup” or “Farm to Cup” but rather, “Table to Table.”  Today we’ll look at their Kiang’ombe, Kenya.


Roaster: Tanager Coffee Roasters

Region: Kabare, Kenya

Producer: Kabare Farmers Coop Society

Process:  Washed & sundried.  

Varietal: Ruiri 11, SL 28, SL 34 

Elevation: 1,750 - 1,950m

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 24.3g © to 343g (w) | 3:00 total time | 200 degrees

Initial sips of dark/honey with a syrupy medium body, grapefruit or orange acidity that hits mid to rear mouth along with spiced fruit notes cocoa powder and woodsy notes in the finish. 
As it opens, stone fruit seem to be the most detectible note: peaches and plums specifically, but I’m finding both red and black currant notes too.  I sense some honeydew in there as well but there is still that underlying cocoa play that sort of mucks with it’s clarity.  It still has that vibrant acidity on the front of every sip and even cooler ending on those lemon-tea notes.  
Cooling even more you see the resurgence of the honey notes, this time a little less dark. The acidity too has tamed a bit (just a bit), and you get some refreshing melon and peachy fruit sweetness along with some tomato notes as well, ending in a slightly cinnamon and cardamom spiced tea-like body with autumn leaves flowing into the long finish. 
Syrupy, stone fruit sweetness, vibrant.  
Brew Method:

Bonmac | 34g © to 475g (w) | 4:25 total time | 202 degrees (preferred method)

Peach and apricot tea notes right off the bat. Not really tea-like in body, still medium bodied with a weighty syrupiness and a finish with tea finish - autumn leaves and spice. More of a lime-like acidity. 
More lemon citrusy notes emerge as the cup cools, and the sweetness also widens. It’s very refreshing rear mouth, clean sweeps of flavor.  Acidity, while more noticeable, is still very balanced in the cup.  Currant, plum, and dried fruit notes seem to entangle in what now displays more delicate and juicy qualities.  
As it cools further it becomes incredibly juicy, syrupy, sugary sweet peach notes. 
Juicy, peach tea, citrus, sweet.

Brew Method:

Woodneck | 34g © to 476g (w) | 4:20 total time | 202 degrees

Similar to Bonmac in a lot of regards, just not as emphasized.  I was also a bit distracted during this cup with company, so notes aren’t very detailed. 
Syrupy body - carries more of the darker notes underneath.  Clean and weighty, citrusy center to otherwise red fruit notes.  Cherry and peach notes detected as it cools, and it remains smooth and increasingly sweet.  

Brew Method:

Siphon | 30g © to 420g (w) | 1:00 pull heat - 2:10 total time  | 200 degrees

Palpable aroma of cherries 
Diving in immediately I gain a weightiness even more than I did in other methods. I still catch the sweet peach notes on the front end, followed by a mandarin orange acidity (yet not attacking like I know it can be) with dustings of currant, leaves, wood, but not big notes of them like previous methods. 
It’s palpable, there is a certain hairiness to it, almost a velvety texture but it’s just so dang smooth. 
Diving deeper spiced plum notes are detected but there is a clarity to a particularly sweetness I find very grape-like.  The middle of the cup sits in the mouth like apple juice, or maybe more similarly apple cider due to it’s weight.  Sipping still there is a nice sparkling quality to the sips as if someone split half my glass with tonic water or a lemon-lime soda. 
It grows ever more juicy, with bubbly characteristics and rustic finish.  Peach and apricot notes come back to the front, still sitting a little more citrusy with lemon and lime notes cleaning up. 
Under all of this is still a fudgey and spiced fruit low that really warms. It’s now that I return to fill my mug, the carafe sits with the coffee around 130 for my second entrance. 
Delicate and creamy peach notes harmonize with slight tea notes, but only slightly yet.  The entire cup has been very clean and overly satisfying, and while incredibly enjoyable on pretty much every level, I find myself wishing for the sweetness I found in the bonmac. 
The sweetness IS coming out; like natural fruit sugars and sweetness you find in fresh peaches at an orchard, but it isn’t as nectary.  Though, as I type more sweet syrupy characteristics arrive to make me a liar.  Dried dates, plum, apricot and peach, with soft spice notes knocking off much aftertaste from being 
Final cold sips are sweet glimpses of heaven… A heaven filled with peach ala mode. 
Weighty, juicy, stone fruit, sweet.  

Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:40 total time | 205 degrees 

Back to that really nice, sweet, dense syrupy mouthfeel.  The peach notes are there in the beginning, but it also has a creamy taste of roasted marshmallow and chocolate in the center of the cup, then comes back to a more juicy finish, fleshy like a peach.  Medium bodied, and a more restricted acidity.  It has a nuttiness I didn’t really pick up in other methods, but it isn’t a roasty. 
It’s quickly developing more juicy qualities: passion fruit, pineapple even, currant, spiced apples and plum, pear even seems noticeable.  Really refreshing, and the acidity now a bit more noticeable, more of a lemon acidity. 
Cooling more the initial sips begin to flutter in the front of the mouth as if with floral characteristics, but I have a hard time placing them. Very welcoming before moving into a creamy and smooth body, sweet and softly deep. 
In the coolest moments of the cup you find honey kissed cherries and peaches in a lime-like swirl with floral finishes whisperings ‘good night, sweet price’. 
Syrupy, juicy, stone fruit, sweet.
This has been a heck of a coffee.  More than a lot of coffees, I really enjoyed seeing nuances shift from device to device with this offering.  I think it has something to do with also having the Deeper Roots Kabare to compare with, especially at the same time.  The less intense acidity was something this coffee offered me but it was more than that.  There was great sweetness to this cup, excellent peach tones, and underlying notes that depending on the method got to peek out at me. 
I decided to throw it on the Siphon after CJ and the folks at Purista Blog suggest I try this coffee immersion.  I can easily get caught up in various pour over that I forget to put it in one of the immersion methods I use.  CJ had made a comment I never thought of before, “this coffee was so delicate that immersion or espresso def gave more definition and fullness.”  I never really think to put “delicate” coffees in an immersion brewer, but by doing so I noticed exactly what he had mentioned: incredible fullness to notes that may otherwise sit lower in the mix or not be as detectible.  
Every make was enjoyable, with a few stand out mentions (namely Bonmac and Siphon).  Until she flies back to me, goodbye Kiang’ombe.   

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.