Newsletter: Kenya Gachatha Factory

Living in the Bay we’re fortunate to be around some of the American wine industry’s finest participants, from importers, to bars and shops, to natural winemakers in Sonoma county and beyond. It’s a beautiful place to be and we often find ourselves sharing anecdotes with our pals on that side of the fence. One of my favorite terms used by wine folk is “unicorn wine.” A unicorn wine is a wine that everyone talks about, a wine that everyone wants to drink, but a wine that is very rarely found on shelves or even tucked away in the deepest cellar in Berkeley.

It’s a dreamy concept that instantly makes me think of the tales of grandeur I’ve been hearing for years from some of the elder coffee statesmen that I respect most; romantic rants about the lucid blackcurrant and blackberry flavor of the most exquisite Kenyan coffees; conversations that habitually end with the lament that Kenya just isn’t quite what it used to be, that maybe, although forever and always a complex player, Kenya doesn’t quite offer the power and the purity that it once did.

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I would classify today’s Kenya offering as a unicorn coffee. To put it simply, this AA lot from Gachatha offers unadulterated flavor. It’s pure. Its sweetness is perfect. The aromatics are fragrant, fresh peach blossoms. Cup character? Take those sweet floral aromatics and turn them into ripe peach and creme fraiche with a drizzle of wildflower honey on top. The acidity? Dramatic. Think fresh redcurrant, golden raspberry, and the whole dang basket of ripe stone fruits from cherry to apricot. This is the best Kenyan coffee I remember purchasing in years. Maybe ever. We scored the arrival 92. The AB is every bit as sweet and wild, just slightly more contained. A stunner of a coffee nonetheless — we scored it 90 on arrival. If this Gachatha outturn doesn’t rival those mythical lots from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, then I say they truly no longer exist. Maybe they never did.

The farmer members of Gachatha received nearly 85 Kenyan Schillings per kilo of cherry for this outturn, one of the single highest prices paid for a lot in the entire country this season. This is the second consecutive year that Red Fox and C. Dorman have paid to keep these folks at the head of the class.

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