It was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2011, that I first discovered how transformative a cup of coffee could be. It was a naturally processed Ethiopia Sidamo and it blew me away. Tasting almost exactly like a blueberry muffin, I had never experienced anything like it, and since then I have viewed natural African coffees with a particular fondness.
Therefore, when browsing the website of Glasgow’s Papercup Coffee Company, it was easy to pick this natural Kenya Oreti over their other interesting options - those will be saved for another time.
Long considered the country’s second city*, Glasgow now boasts multiple excellent coffee roasters and enjoys a healthy competition with Edinburgh for the title of coffee capital of Scotland. Established in 2012, Papercup is one of that growing number of roasters enriching Glasgow’s vibrant coffee scene (see also: Dear Green).
Although the parcel took a little while to arrive, the roast date was fresh and the fruitiness for which natural coffees are known was noticeable even through the padded envelope.
The coffee, from Oreti Estate in the Thiku Plateau region of south-central Kenya, is presented in a simple matte black stand-up pouch with a spare, stylish logo on the front and the necessary info on the back.
The dry fragrance is appealingly complex with licourice, cherry and vanilla all fighting for prominence with a deep saltiness underpinning the whole.
Brewed by Chemex, this coffee combines nuanced brightness with rich, fruity notes and a heavy sweetness. There is an earthiness that anchors the cup, while hints of orange peel and a silken mouthfeel sustain the move towards a resonant, cocoa and crisp citrus finish.
The natural processing lends this Kenya a deeper, rounded foundation that allows the more refined sweetness and fruity top notes to sing out.
A coffee that rewards experimentation in brew methods - a Chemex showcases more of those clean, graceful elements while a v60 allows the sweet fruity base equal billing - Papercup’s Kenya Oreti would be best suited to anyone who likes the lushness and earthiness of a natural processed coffee as well as lovers of delicate, crisp Kenyas in general.
Papercup have managed to balance the bright fruit notes that distinguish the best Kenyas with a complemental depth and sweetness which gives this coffee a pleasingly memorable character.
Region: Thiku Plateau
*My mother, who is from Glasgow, would disagree.