Introducing Karimikui

Karimikui is from Kirinyaga, Kenya. Roasted by La Cabra, Aarhus.
Coffee Kirinyaga, Kenya
Rung'eto Farmer's Cooperative Society
SL 28 & SL 34
1650 meters
Roaster La Cabra
Aarhus, Denmark
Read our interview with La Cabra
Tasting Notes Strawberry preserves. Graham cracker. Rhubarb pie.
Method View the brew guide for Karimikui

Established in 1966, Karimikui is one of three wet mills in Kirinyaga that comprise the Rung’eto Farmer’s Cooperative Society. Over 600 smallholder members on Mount Kenya’s southern slopes, an area rich with acidic, red volcanic soil, contribute to Karimikui.

At Karimikui, coffee undergoes labor-intensive processing with two stages of fermentation, combining both wet and dry processing methods. Each batch takes up to 72 hours to process—or three times longer than normal. In between fermentations, the coffee is rinsed of excess organic matter under the clean, snowmelt waters of the Nyamindi River, and is left to soak for 16 to 20 hours before being dried on raised beds. Each batch is a carefully tendered and delicate process which results in Karimikui’s intensely sweet, strawberry flavors.

Karimikui was roasted by La Cabra, which was founded four years ago, in Aarhus, Denmark, by Esben Piper. In a romantic way that speaks to his nature, Esben decided to pursue coffee after a single, revelatory sip. Taste—and almost exclusively, taste—has informed La Cabra’s roasting style ever since. While the current trend of specialty coffee lies in ever complicated technology, and physical and chemical analyses, La Cabra is the rare roaster that uses the pure sensory aspect of taste as its fundamental guide.

La Cabra’s methods may be unorthodox, but it has achieved wide-ranging success and universal acclaim. To date, La Cabra has been home to five national barista champions, and has represented Denmark at both the World Brewer’s Cup and World Barista Championship this year. In 2015, La Cabra entered the Australian Brewer’s Cup with a recipe of aggressive underextraction—surprising everyone with a unanimous win.

“Brighter is better” is La Cabra’s motto and Karimikui, bright and dynamic, is undoubtedly so. With each sip, its flavors transform: crackling notes of rhubarb and blackcurrant blossom into scents of fresh lemon peel. In its lingering moments, Karimikui captures the peak of summer in its intense, ripe strawberry jam flavors, and its rich sweetness, like slices of rhubarb pie.

Karimikui had a particular sensibility that did not suit typical brewing profiles. Brewing to maximize extraction tended to dull and mute flavors, so we took a more delicate approach: using cooler water, a lower brew ratio, and a coarser grind setting. These slight adjustments, along with pouring as gently and steadily as possible, results in a coffee that showcases Karimikui’s lively and sparkling characteristics.