Update: this coffee is not currently available through Case. Check out all their current coffee offerings here.
I think I'm in love.
Case Coffee Roasters' Kenya Gachatha AA just might be my new favorite coffee.
My mom picked this bag of coffee up for me when she was in Ashland, OR a few weeks ago and visited Case Coffee Roasters after my sister suggested it. So in a way, I have both my mom and sister to thank for this delicious coffee.
I was a little bit worried though. This is because by the time I got ahold of the bag of coffee, it had already been roasted more than 2 weeks ago. As I've mentioned before, I tend to steer clear of coffee that has been roasted more than 2 weeks ago, particularly when it comes to my reviews.
However, this coffee exonerated itself from this rule, because it tasted great regardless of the roast date.
About Case Coffee Roasters & The Kenya Gachatha AA
Case Coffee Roasters is a small batch coffee roaster located in beautiful Ashland, OR. All of their coffee is sourced from their 4 favorite regions of the world: Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Colombia. Case seeks out seasonal coffee that is sweet, clean, and complex, and I tell ya, the Kenya Gachatha AA definitely fit the bill.
According to Case Coffee themselves, this year's crop is being hailed as a “unicorn” coffee given its elusiveness and rare beauty. And I agree with them, I think it will knock your socks off.
The coffee comes from the Nyeri district in the central province of Kenya. It is grown at an altitude of 1300 masl and is wet processed.
General Notes and Observations
If you like a fruity cup of coffee that is balanced and not overly bright, I think this is a coffee you will really appreciate. Additionally, this was a very versatile coffee in that it came out great and somewhat consistently across brew methods.
Aroma: cinnamon, blueberry, milk chocolate, honey, coffee blossom, cantaloupe.
I know some people will scoff at the “cantaloupe” note, so let me just put in a disclaimer here: it was a very brief aroma that I picked up on. Nothing prevalent.
Cinnamon was the most prevalent aroma for me in the brewed coffee as well as the ground coffee. The whole bean coffee itself had a pleasant, buttery aroma that I didn't delve into too deeply. Let's just say, it was nice, even 4 weeks post-roast!
I got to brew with pretty much my entire coffee maker lineup, which was awesome. Even better, I didn't waste any coffee dialing in my grinds. I found that the most important thing for this coffee to come out great was brewing at consistently high temperatures.
For pour over, I got my best results at around 205˚-208˚F starting temperature.
For espresso, 200˚F got me a great shot. More on that later.
Standard or inverted, it didn't matter. The AeroPress had me drinking some amazing cups of the Kenya Gachatha AA.
I used 18 grams of coffee with ~230 grams of water (204˚F) with a fine drip grind (#32) on my Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I did a pre-infusion of about 40 grams of water for 30 seconds with a circular shake.
Total brew time was 1:40 for inverted and 1:10 for standard.
And the coffee notes? Nearly perfect sweetness, complexity, and aftertaste. Very few bitter notes, and a light, but pleasant body.
Flavor Notes: raisin, raspberry, milk chocolate, butter, and lemon.
The coffee was like milk chocolate covered raspberries when at its hottest with the brighter notes (lemon) coming in as the coffee cooled. The aftertaste had traces of chocolate and butter across all temperatures.
I had a brilliant cup of coffee when I brewed with the V60.
I used 15 grams of coffee with 230 grams of water (207˚F). My grind was drip fine (#32) on my Breville Smart Grinder Pro. Total brew time was 3:00. The final cup was perfectly balanced.
Chocolate notes were more prevalent when the coffee was hot. As it cooled, more raspberry.
Flavor Notes: raspberry and milk chocolate.
The second time however, made some incredible coffee. Arguably the best I had from this bag.
So what adjustments did I make between the first brew and the second brew?
Well, I didn't record the brew time the first time around for one, but my guess is that it was a little bit too short. I brewed with 30 grams of coffee and 450 grams of water in 5 minutes for my second brew.
Additionally, I used a medium-coarse grind the first time around, and a medium grind the second time around.
Finally, my water temperature started around 204˚ in the first brew and 208˚ in the second brew.
The sourness was almost definitely a result of under-extraction from too coarse of a grind and water that cooled too quickly.
Flavor notes: milk chocolate, raspberry (I honestly didn't pay very close attention because I was enjoying the coffee so much).
Wowie. I pulled a great shot right away.
Floral and cinnamon aromas with a bright, but balanced flavor and finish.
Pulled at 200˚F, 18 grams of coffee for a 40 gram yield in 30 seconds.
I didn't take notes for this brew, but it was pretty consistent with what I picked up across other brew methods.
Auto Drip (KitchenAid Pour Over)
I've been testing the KitchenAid Pour Over Brewer these past few weeks for auto drip and it produced some nice pots of coffee that really accentuated the raspberry flavor I kept picking up in this coffee.
If you're going to go the auto drip route, you'll want to make sure you're using an SCAA certified coffee maker, because this coffee's achilles heel is water temperatures below the SCAA recommended range of 195˚- 205˚F.
Overall, the ratings below are what I thought about the coffee across the different rating categories I’ve been using. To learn more about how I review coffee, go here.
Perfection. The only time the acidity backfired was when high temperature wasn't maintained during the brew cycle. Otherwise, this coffee will be like eating an entire basket of fruit with balancing flavors laced in between.
Chocolate, buttery, and most importantly, not dry. The Gachatha AA's aftertaste brought the perfect balance to the bright punch of the coffee's actual flavor.
The aroma had some consistencies with the actual flavor, but to me it was like a whole new experience from whole bean, to ground, to brewed. Really picked up a lot of great scents.
Medium bodied and delicious. Had a great mouthfeel from drip to espresso.
In terms of flavor, this was hands-down one of the best coffees I've had. Bravo!
If you like a fruity cup of coffee with chocolate balance, I highly recommend this year's (2015) Kenya Gachatha AA. I'd tell you to buy this coffee wherever you can get it. Case Coffee Roasters is one of these places, but Verve and Klatch are two other well-known roasters that are also selling it.
I wouldn't recommend this coffee to someone who brew via French Press or non-SCAA-certified auto drip. I don't think coarser grinds and lower water temperatures do this coffee justice. I didn't test with French Press, but since it isn't a very full-bodied coffee I don't really think it would come out amazingly.
To give the Kenya Gachatha AA a try while it's still available, head on over to Case Coffee Roasters for a bag. Shipping is free here in the U.S.