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Savory Flavors in Coffee

Savory notes in coffee? It happens more than one might reflexively think. And not just with tomato-y leaning coffees from Kenya. What we grind and extract to make delicious beverages is a seed, from a fruit. We in coffee tend to make a big deal about this, some leaning hard into this fact as a major branding point or naming convention. But a quick Google search reveals beans are also edible seeds. So everyone’s right, then. What follows is largely sense experience findings and not from peer reviewed food science journals.

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NEW KENYA RELEASE. NGARIAMA.

So what’s distinct about a cup of Kenya coffee and what is Sump selling and how can you buy it? Coffees (or at least the ones we look to bring into the roastery) from Kenya unfold as follows. Right from go, an unfurling of dried cranberry (not cranraisins or dried sweet cranberries from Whole Foods) -dried, red and unsweetened; maybe even slightly suggestive of a Rooibos tea; full facings of (or sometimes minor hints) grapefruit, sometimes inching toward pith; and always lurking around every facet of the cup is something savory -some cups tip to full Campbell's tomato soup impressions, others playfully tease softer savory notes, like heirloom grape tomatoes or savory tropical fruits, like a jackfruit; and rounding out the finish is typically a big syrupy mouthfeel, with big sweetness (typical of dark sugars; burnt/caramelized sugar, molasses, browns)  with a lingering aftertaste of dried fruit, like raisins, figs or dates. Often there exists small pockets of impressions of black tea and minor savory spices/fruits, like tamarind.

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