Kenya Makwa

iRoast 2iRoast 2


Disaster hit last week when the iRoast 2 failed. A quick email to Stephen Leighton of Has Bean Coffee brought a response within hours and only a few days later the postman knocked on my door and handed me the replacement iRoast 2 base unit. My earlier one suffered a heater failure and that meant no coffee roasting for a few days. Great service however from Stephen and the iRoast distributor – thank you. The good news is that I was able to roast some of the Kenyan less than 7 days after the failure of the earlier iRoast base unit.

A consequence of the iRoast 2 failure was that Linda was becoming rather frustrated with me complaining about the coffee I was making. I was still grinding and brewing already roasted coffee (not from Has Bean) but I was also complaining that I couldn’t even be bothered to drink it. It just did not seem fresh! Start to roast your own beans at your peril. You will become picky about coffee you drink elsewhere!

Kenya Makwa

Starting with green beans bought from Has Bean Coffee and the Hearthware iRoast 2 I used one of my own programmed roasting curves (3mins 168ºC; 3mins 174ºC; 3mins 180ºC; 2mins 186ºC; 2mins 192ºC) with 125g of the Kenya Makwa. Mains was approx 244.5v at the time but as I have already concluded, this has no effect on the outcome of the roasting process in the iRoast 2. Actual temperature during roasting, as indicated by iRoast, lay between 209ºC and 221ºC.

The first cup of the freshly roasted Kenyan Makwa (made in my Cona just a couple of hours after the roasting) had that really fresh quality with a range of complex after-tastes.

Linda immediately said apricot and I have to say that I understand where she is coming from there. It certainly was sweet and even I could use the word fruity to describe the experience. Also, the coffee, just after grinding, had really strong wonderful aromatic qualities.

The coffee as I had roasted it had a quality that I could enjoy daily. It was not so much in my face but more gentle and interesting. It was waiting, in my cup, for me to ‘listen’ to it when I was ready to look for the flavour.

Stephen Leighton In My Mug Video Blog Episode 71, has produced an excellently entertaining video about this coffee which is worth watching. The associated comments are also interesting. Details of this coffee are also currently available (28th March 2010) on the HasBean site.

Stephen Leighton classes the Kenya Makwa as follows: "In the cup expect lemon meringue pie, with a creamy big mouthfeel, clean bright acidity thats full of effervescence, think lemon pie popping candy, with a big citrus flavours. A very special Kenya." He also tells us that the coffee comes from a farm located close to the town of Gatukuyu in Kenya at around 1,700m. Location thus deduced to be in the area as shown below.

View Makwa Kenya in a larger map

I suspect that my efforts at roasting are not disclosing all that Stephen suggests but I can also relate to the clean, bright taste and a touch of citrus. Linda detected apricot and she hasn't changed her mind since viewing Stephen's video. A good coffee that I could drink every day. Perhaps it needs more attention than I am capable of giving to it when roasting and perhaps its aromatic quality dissipates more quickly than in other coffees.