Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ndiara Estate, Kirinyaga, Kenya

The second coffee I've been imbibing this month is a Kenyan (I try and mix up the continents when I get coffees, of late. Eventually I'd like to stick to the same country and discern differences) from the Ndiara Estate. George Howell tells us that,

"Ndiara is another powerful coffee from Kirinyaga, easily an equal, in my opinion, to Mamuto and very different. If ever there was a coffee that should be called 'jammy', this is it! It presents a massive body with a berry fruit-basket of flavors. If you have not tried it you should.

Ndiara is an eight acre farm in the Kirinyaga district on the southren slope of Mt. Kenya at 5,500 feet. It is named after a pre-historic site nearby. Mr. Daniel Waruri Muriuki started it in 1979 when he acquired the land and planted 6,000 Bourbon SL-28 and SL-34 coffee trees; he later added an additional 500 trees."

You may be asking yourself, what do those designations Bourbon SL-28 and SL-34 mean? They are essentially the pedigree of the type of coffee, what in coffee jargon is the "varietal" or "cultivar". Here is a nice little primer on this sort of language: http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/varietals.htm/.

I found this coffee so sweet it was like it had sugar in it, bright and airy. Taste went something like this: Sweet - Mellow - Tangy/Nippy mix... it was hard to characterize with the strong aroma of blackberries. Reminded me of our five acres where I spent a good bit of my formative years... ah. Tasty!

On a related note, I briefly stopped by one of my all-time favorite cafes: 1369 Coffeehouse (two locations) in Cambridge, MA. They are a fantastic shop, full of all that is Cambridge (awesome tattoos, mustaches, avant-garde clothing, posters for local bands, taro card readings, and goth raves). The coffee is delicious, particularly their espresso & espresso drinks. Their house roasts tend to be on the darker side, certainly in the dry distillation range, but that is their expertise (after the European fashion) and they are quite good at it.

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