Filter Face-off 2: The Barn & Double B
Double B vs. The Barn
This week the face off involves an international pairing, both fantastic roasts from two great specialty roasters. The Barn of Berlin, and Double B, of both Moscow and Prague. The Barn was a sample I acquired during the Berlin Coffee Festival, the second is from Double B, picked up during my recent trip to Prague last month recommended to me by my friend Dominik who works as a barista there. Both are great examples of the quality of coffee coming from the central region of Kenya, and while are from different regions, they both come from a mountainous region, not so far from Mount Kenya.
The Barn has long been established as one of Berlin's most favored specialty coffee providers, and their coffee is now sought after all over the world. Kamviu AB is one of their best offerings this season, an incredibly sweet and juicy Kenyan coffee from the Embu Region, just east of Double B's offering from the Nyeri Region.
The coffee is grown at 1750 meters above sea level and is grown on rich volcanic soil, and nearly 1000 farmers are producing coffee in this area delivering to the Gakunda farmers cooperative. This area are known for their cash crops, most of which are coffee and tea.
The Nyeri Region is found at the mouth of the extinct volcano Mount Kenya and the soil here is rich and acidic which contributes to producing some of the best coffees in Kenya. This coffee was hand selected by Double B's green source buyer Dmitrii Borodai. It's altitude was closer to 2000 meters at 1800-1900 above sea level and was sourced from the Mutheka Farmers Society.
The Brew Method:
For this week I decided to use one of my favourite brew tools, The Aeropress.
My recipe is simple and requires very little to do it well. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
Dose: 12 grams
Water: 200 grams
Tempterature: 99 degrees
Total Brew Time: 2 min 30s
Grind size: A touch finer than for a hand brew
Follow these quick and easy steps:
Begin by adding your 12 grams of coffee to the inverted aeropress, and then start your timer.
Quickly add the 200 grams of water with a lot of velocity until you reach 200 grams of water. At this point you can chill out and send a text message or make your Instagram picture. At two minutes, you stir 3 – 4 times to break the crust, pop your cap on, place the pitcher over the cap, flip and press for about 10 seconds until you reach the 2 minute and 30 second mark. What you are left with is a cloudy swirl of brown stuff and a few minutes of clean up.
But how did they taste:
My love of Kenyan coffee has been quite recent, and maybe its something to do with summer time and the craving for sweet berries and bright fruits and these two coffees deliver this great taste.
I do find Kenyan coffees difficult to dissect, especially when paired together as sometimes the flavour notes are a little bit hidden to me, or they can be a little similar in profile, but in this face off, I was lucky to have two coffees that are as different as they are similar.
Kamviu from the Barn is a beautiful sweet coffee. It has a light body but a balanced and sweet tone, with a light aftertaste and finish. This makes it very different from the Mutheka Muthua from Double B which is incredibly sweet. It has a heavier body, but is quite bright and very sweet. I felt like I needed to brush my teeth after this one. The after taste lingers a while longer and as a brown sugar mouth feel in the finish. For flavour notes, the Double B tastes first of a rich sweet blackberry jam. A dark sugar lingers a while, and a hum of black tea. In the acidity of raspberry, is very present, that ripe yet sweet acidity. But when it cools you also get a hint of strawberry. The Barn’s Kamviu is a touch lighter in the mouthfeel but is also quite sweet. In the acidity you have the flavour notes of blueberry and red currant, which is crisp and tingles a while.
These are two very strong offerings for the Kenyan summer season, and the Kamviu even makes a fantastic espresso which I tried at their shop, and I plan to make a nice early autumn cold brew with the remaining beans I have.
That being said, although I said I would not pick winners and losers in this, I have to say, the Mutheka is easily one of the best Kenyans I’ve ever tried. I’ve never had a coffee so incredibly sweet. I think the work that went in here is amazing. It’s almost worth the trip to Prague just to get another bag. So if you happen to travel to Prague or Berlin, get yourself into the Barn and try their Kamviu, but if you are lucky enough to live near Double B, you know what to order next time. Both coffees are totally worth it.