This coffee is from the Karuthi Factory, a washing station more or less. Karuthi is one of 19 washingstations that make up the Othaya Farmer’s Coopertive Society, a coop-run organization. There are roughly 400 members of Karuthi, with coffee being grown as high as 2300 meters above sea level. The mill itself is located near the Chinga river in the Abedare mountains, not far from the Chinga mill (another mill we bought outstanding coffees from this year). Othaya started in the mid-1950s, ballooning from 250 original members to 15,000 strong today. Altitude of the washing station is just shy of 1900 meters, and you mostly see SL-28 and SL-34, along with a little Ruiru mixed in. We keep returning to the societies who regularly produce some of the best Kenya coffees we see, and each year we come across coffees new to us – like Karuthi – and this list continues to grow.
Citrus notes both sweet and tart are up front in Karuthi, sensed all along our cup test. The dry fragrance of City roasts smells like orange black tea, molasses cookie with shaved lemon, and baking spice. Aromatics are intoxicating, the wetted coffee proffering orange juice smells, vanilla and brown sugar accents, and the components of red punch (pineapple, orange, and ginger ale). The cup is juicy, like fresh squeezed mandarin orange, and with flavors of orange glaze, and sweetened cranberry sauce. A citric brightness cuts through, adding a complex backbone to the cup. Spice accents are revealed as the cup cools, and make for a flavor of spiced grape juice. Grape flavors are most overt at City+, and potentially Full City as well, thought with deep cocoa tones in accompaniment. But City+ is where we found an extremely sweet spot, a culmination of flavors that are like grape jelly, and the floral aspects of ripe Concord grapes.k