0006 – Kenya Gatomboya AB, roasted by Little Wolf
|Roaster Tasting Notes||Blackcurrant, Grapefruit, Sweet|
It's never a bad idea to stop and ask what exactly the name on a coffee label might mean or refer to. You don't want to be like the friend who for many years thought their favourite coffee producer was Brazil Fazenda, only later to find out Fazenda isn't a person nor region, but the word for "farm" in Portugese.
Allow us to take a little side quest into Gatomboya AB.
Who is Gatomboya? This is actually the name of a washing station in Nyeri, Kenya, which, funny enough also means "swamp" in locally spoken Kikuyu. Gatomboya washing station is part of a large coffee co-operative called Barichu Co-Operative Society which itself is home to about 600 small coffee producers that bring their coffee cherries to be processed at Gatomboya.
The "AB" in "Gatomboya AB" – You often see these acronyms tacked on to Kenyan coffees, what exactly are they? This is the grade of the coffee according to Kenya's unique grading system. There are other grades too, like:
- Kenya E (Elephant Bean)
- Kenya PB (Peaberry)
- Kenya AA (fits through screen 17/18)
- Kenya AB
- ...and so on.
Generally speaking, grades are determined by measured size of an individual bean but there are other factors too, like density, thinness, defects and so on. This coffee is of grade AB, meaning it is a combination of grade A and B size beans. Interestingly enough, you'll often see AA coffees sell for slightly higher prices than AB under the assumption that they potentially yield sweeter coffees, but generally speaking, as a coffee consumer, I wouldn't overly concern yourself with this particular rating system. AA, AB, Peaberry, and others are very common and often equally delicious within specialty coffee.
What varieties are in this coffee? Likely predominately SL 28 and SL 34, but some other variety mixing can happen in co-operative setups like Gatomboya. The SL stands for Scott Laboratories, a Kenyan research lab that developed these coffee varieties way back in the 1930's. Yep, coffee plants, like many other crops have long been engineered to be disease and pest resistant, have different cup qualities, better yield, and so on.
A little about Little Wolf
Founded in 2016 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Melissa Bartz and Chris Gatti. Little Wolf comes by inspiration of their Siberian Husky named River. Aw.
How'd it taste?
The authors of this newsletter had mixed reviews in our tasting, some getting more characteristic Kenyan flavours like juicy, red fruit, while another was going on about buttered popcorn. We also noted that the juiciness became more pronounced as it cooled.
Revolver staff had this to say
Aroma and taste of Ribena. Lingering taste of Grapefruit sprinkled with sugar. Juicy. Everything enhances as it cools.
We did the research for you on this "Ribena" and turns out it is yet another British reference, this time a blackcurrant-based soft drink from concentrate. Adds up.
What did you think of today's coffee?
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Well, that's it for 0006. Kenya has come and gone –or has it?
We'll find out this and more, same time tomorrow, only on Coffee Chronicles!