Green Mountain’s Game-Changing Kenya AA

  • Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆

I have long been ambivalent — or at least something of a fence-sitter — where the whole single-cup coffee thing is concerned. Single-cup brewers are, by design, a study in compromise between convenience and quality. Do you want cup-at-a-time accessibility? Or do you want the full range and nuance of aroma, flavor body and balance that only grinding and brewing fresh-roasted beans can offer? I’d kinda like both. But the Clover is out of my price range and wouldn’t fit in my kitchen anyway.

I’ve had my hands on what I believe to be most every at-home single serve coffee machine on the market. That would include (in no particular order) machines from Senseo, Tassimo, Keurig, Nespresso, Melitta, Bunn, Grindmaster, Flavia, Juan Valdez, and Black & Decker. Have I missed any? Oh yeah… the Aeropress. While I’m long overdue in writing a full-blown roundup of the single-cup machine landscape — judging by the numbers of folk who flock to single-cup posts in the Bloggle Archives, anyway — this isn’t that article. Instead it’s about a coffee Green Mountain has just released for the Keurig brewer. A coffee that’s something of a game-changer.

Green Mountain’s Kenyan AA (the traditional, whole bean version) has won accolades from Kenneth Davids at Coffee Review, where he awarded it a whopping 96 points and described it thusly:

A coffee at once voluptuous and austere. Delicately complex aroma: flowers, chocolate, tobacco leaf, lemon grass. In the cup an amazingly rich, wine-like acidity, sweet flowers, and a gently crisp, dry berry fruit. Hints of chocolate re-emerge in the cleanly long, almost perfect finish.

Nice. And now that same bean has been tweaked to perform for the Keurig machine. The roast is a touch darker, to hedge against the Keurig brewer’s wont to make acidity a little shrill. The result is an honest to goodness grand cru coffee in a K-Cup.

The Kenyan AA Extra Bold offers stunning coffee flower and tobacco aromas, winey acidity — held in check, but not tamed by its medium roast — with flavors that include jammy dark fruit and chocolate, and the distinctly sensual, musky note that you will only ever find in a Kenyan coffee. With it, ample — even surprising — body, and a crisp, sweet and resonant finish. And all of it at the press of a button.

This one’s gonna turn a lot of heads.