• Rating: [rating:4/5]

Jason Anderson and Sharon Grossman, husband and wife co-proprietors of Coffee Emergency, launched into the specialty coffee trade a scant two years ago and quickly made a splash. Code Brown — their signature espresso blend — wowed the Coffee Geek espressorati; no mean feat, that. It’s all the more remarkable given the fledgling company was still working its way out of the nest… they’d just revved up a mobile espresso van and were still roasting their coffee in tiny batches on a gas grill. (Something not altogether unlike like this.)

I get the impression that these folks haven’t let their early success go to their head. Their web site is spare and simple; so’s their shop. Just the same, they continue to pile on the accolades, and recently received a whopping 93 from Kenneth Davids for their Colombian Inza Cauca.

Jason and Sharon submitted three coffees for review: a lovely little Nicaraguan number, a new, limited-edition espresso blend and an eye-opening bean from Kenya. I’ll get to the the others in subsequent reviews (soon, I promise!). Right now, let’s visit Africa.

Coffee Emergency’s Kenya AA Mtaro is a well-developed Full City roast; it offers no evidence of visiting 2nd crack at all save for a few spots of oil, clearly migrated since its August 1 roast. (Each of the three bags I received is very clearly roast-dated and heat-sealed in a laminated valve-bag. Good start!)

This is a classic Kenya coffee: sexy, musky, sensuous. Just ground it effuses jasmine and fine tobacco, while it whispers of sandalwood and worn saddle leather while brewing. In the cup it offers wine-dark fruits, but at its center its flavors lean toward savory — I taste brandied tomato — joined with a persistent but low-toned brightness. Its body is pleasingly round and supple, its finish is clean, semi-sweet and tastes of cedar.

In short, while I’m altogether happy to drink this coffee, I could as well dab some behind my ears and call it a fine cologne. Kenya AA Mtaro is a savory, complex and rewarding cup, and a welcome counterpoint to the too-many lemon-bright Kenyan coffees on the market today.

Recommended. Available at Coffee Emergency.

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