My Coffee Journey – August 2012

A rather long delay in posting this entry as I have been busy with moving and starting a new job.  However, I have still found time to enjoy two different coffees throughout August and into this month – Monsoon Malabar, the coffee that spiked my coffee interest a couple of years ago (interestingly, I returned to St Martin’s Coffee House in Leicester for the first time today and loved the cafe as much as ever), and Kiandu from Kenya.

Monsoon Malabar

£3.25/100g from Whittards

Strength – 5

The story goes that coffee beans travelling from the Malabar Coast to Europe mellowed on the long humid voyage and the resulting taste was unexpectedly popular.  To get the same taste today, the coffee beans are matured in the monsoon winds.  Whittard’s describes this coffee as having ‘a monotone smoothness with a sweet spicy kick’.

I found the aroma of this coffee very fresh, like after a rain storm, reminiscent of the wind and oak trees.  It was a very easy to drink coffee, smooth and creamy, but missing that ‘kick’.  However, adding a touch of milk made it extra creamy and brought out that hint of spice.  I preferred it with milk once it had cooled down a bit.

As an espresso, I found it to be soft, then bitter and harsh, with a fresh taste like the rain that made it almost refreshing.  It was strong, but not in a ‘blow your head off’ way.  For me, it was an unusual espresso as it was a bit of everything in one cup.

Overall, I love this coffee but it is not one I would drink everyday.  I also need to blind taste it sometime as I always imagine myself a monsoon before I even smell it, let alone drink it! I give it 4 stars.

Kiandu – medium roast

£3.90/100g from Monmouth Coffee Company

This coffee comes from the Kiandu Coffee Factroy in Nyeri,Kenya which processes coffee cherries from 1120 farmer members and services five local villages to which they provide training in coffee agronomy, processing and equipment servicing.  Kiandu is available in a medium and dark roast, and on this occasion I tried the medium roast which is described as having tropical fruit notes with bright acidity and medium body.

When I first smelled this coffee I had notes of chocolate, citrus and spice.  These all came through in the taste which was very citrusy, almost like tea (interesting how both African coffees I have tried so far have had a tea-like taste).  The coffee rolled in my mouth but with no unpleasant tingle, and I could feel it on the roof of my mouth and gently on the sides.  It was woody and leafy with a touch of cocoa.  I coud imagine drinking this coffee with a really rick chocolate torte!

As an espresso, the aroma was citric, bitter and smoky like cigars.  The taste was sweet, with a honey like texture, but also citric with a bit of a bite.  I much preferred it as an espresso.

I would rate this coffee as 3.5 stars.  With a chocolatey dessert, this could increase to 4.

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