Although we are now well and truly into January and the new year, to complete things from 2013, its time to write the about how my Keeper’s (Christmas) Blend fared in the cup. As I mentioned in a previous post, this blend was given to family members, and for the first time, some friends and work colleagues also, which is another reason this review is being written now – to allow time for some feedback from those who sampled the offering.
As an aside, given he provided inspiration for the naming of the blend, it was nice to see Aussie wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s form continue at such a high level throughout the Ashes series (particularly as the original roast was undertaken after only two tests). In retrospect, the only thing better than this blend was the Ashes result itself!
Thankfully, the feedback I did receive about the blend was overwhelmingly positive, however to allow for the politeness of those who sampled, it would be best to have a stab at objectively assessing the blend myself.
What – Keeper’s Blend (Christmas Blend)
- City: Between Butare and Cyangugu
- Region: Nyamagabe district, Southern Province
- Washing Station: Nyarusiza
- Altitude: 1,935 metres above sea level
- Variety: 100% Red Bourbon
- Processing: Fully washed and sun-dried on African raised beds
- Owner: Epiphanie Mukashyaka
- Origin: Kenya
- Altitude: 1700 – 1800mtrs
- Crop Year: 2013
- Varietal: SL 28 SL 34
(Information courtesy Ministry Grounds)
Latte; Hario V60 Pour over (Hot and Cold Brews); Aeropress; Espresso
Latte / Milk course – Originally roasted with filter brewing (sans milk) in mind, I was quite pleased with how well suited the blend was to espresso based milk drinks. A nice buttery mouthfeel was accompanied by enough acidity to cut through the milk and allow the stone fruit and citrus flavours to emerge. Some chocolate undertones also came through when consumed in this form.
V60 – Notwithstanding the above comments, this is where the blend really shined. It seemed the combination of the more robust sweetness of the Nyarusiza and the brighter citrus acidity of the Karimikui was a winner, maintaining an even level of sweetness from immediately post brew right through the cooling process. When brewed over ice it really was something special.
Aeropress – Thankfully, this brewing method was utilised the least, for reasons entirely unrelated to taste. My Aeropress is at the office, meaning most of my enjoyment of the blend occurred during a relaxing holiday period. On returning to work and running the blend through the Aeropress, I was certainly not disappointed. Though not quite as bright as the V60, a similar sweetness profile was evident, with the chocolate undercurrent balancing things out nicely. If I could no longer have an afternoon nap, then this was the next best thing.
Espresso – With an acidity that was like a slap across the face, as an espresso the blend is likely to have benefitted from a little more body, however was immensely enjoyable none the less. The smooth buttery mouthfeel gave this one a bright, lasting (if not intense) finish.
Conclusion; Know This
In view of the fact this blend was distributed to friends and family, I was very pleased to find it worked very well across all forms of brewing. I’d have to say that of all the blends I have created (read, tinkered around with), this one has probably been the pick of the bunch so far.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5Follow @petedenison