This week I took the opportunity to take a closer look at the 2 offerings from Kenya that are up on the Shrub right now:
Kenya Nyeri AB Gatomboya - http://coffeeshrub.com/shrub/coffee/kenya-nyeri-ab-gatomboya
Kenya Nyeri Gaturiri Peaberry - http://coffeeshrub.com/shrub/coffee/kenya-nyeri-gaturiri-peaberry
These coffees are from 2 different factories, so this isn't as much a scientific comparison of the coffee varieties as it is just a look at 2 distinctive coffees. That being said, there are some characteristics of what I would consider to be classic peaberry characteristics. I also took the opportunity to not just cup these coffees, but also brew them through a couple different methods with a couple different people. One thing of note in this comparison is that on the cupping table flavor-wise, these coffees were very similar, the major differences were in mouthfeel, which in interaction with the acidity produced some distinctive differences in sweetness, which in turn promoted certain flavors that were present in each coffee but that were maybe more muted in one or the other. Each brew method lent itself to highlighting complexity in the coffees differently as well.
Kenya Nyeri AB Gatomboya & Guturiri PB in Hario v60 pour-over.
This Kenya AB has a very tea-like character, with a bit of pleasantly crisp and dry astringency which helps promote the cranberry/blackberry fruit flavors in the cup. In the Hario pour-over, this characteristic of mouthfeel really helped some of the toffee sweetness pop out as well and gave the coffee more complex flavors compared to the Peaberry brewed the same way. The Gaturiri definitely had a dense mouthfeel, more creamy and syrupy, and this lent itself to very confident and focused acidity in the v60 brew. I felt like this was the sweeter coffee in comparison to the crisp dryness in the AB, but also that it was simpler, not too many other characteristics besides the bright and sweet blackberry in the middle of the palate and the syrupy finish.
Kenya Nyeri AB Gatomboya & Guturiri PB in the Clever
The PB in this brew method is still very creamy in mouthfeel , but as it cools, it becomes more buttery as well. The blackberry characteristics also turn more to stone fruit, with some tangy apricot in the middle palate and there's some clove and vanilla in the buttery finish. The AB is very bright forward, but not in the tangy way that the PB is, still crisp blackberry, with a snappy finish that has just a bit of walnut in it. In this brew, more people found the AB to be the sweeter coffee, and the PB had more complexity with it's buttery spiced caramel and tangy apricot.
The Hario definitely lent itself to highlighting the complexity in the lighter, crisper bodied coffee, while the Clever lent itself to more fully expressing the denser creamier coffee. But, as far as which coffee was sweeter in which brew, the reverse seems to be the case. Is sweetness less defined when there's more complexity in the cup? That's what I might draw from these tastings. Either way, these are 2 very distinctive coffees when it comes to mouthfeel, and it's very intriguing to see the mouthfeel's impact on some of the classic Kenya characteristics. Hopefully these tastings might help you decide which Kenya you might want to pick up, or even how to serve them depending on what a particular customer might want in the cup; complexity or sweetness.