A vicarious trip across Eastern Africa

Given that we’re such huge fans of Ethiopian coffee, it only made sense for us to compare it with those from other neighbouring countries in Eastern Africa.

But since I wasn’t familiar with African geography, I consulted my knowledgeable friend Dr GM, who suggested that I explore Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Source: Google Maps

First up was Kenya, specifically the Kenya Kiriga from The Caffeine Peddler. It was part of a sampler pack and was the first one of eight that we tried. The tasting notes on the bag indicated a “fresh floral aroma, berries, bold and full-bodied with a distinct winey acidity”.

It made for a pleasant cup, with light floral notes coming through. Among the eight in the sampler pack, both The Wife and I ranked it at number two, with our respective number ones being two separate Ethiopians.

Ethiopia 1 : East Africa 0

Round Two *ding ding*. Entering the ring was the Rwanda Musasa Dukunde Kawa from Nylon Coffee Roasters, with its hint of “mandarin, red currant, dried apricot and honey”.

Red berries were prominent in the bright and well balanced cup, which tasted even better when paired with kway chap, the breakfast of champions!

Taste-wise, we both gave it a solid 8 out of 10, but when compared with the many Ethiopian beans we’ve had in the recent past, it came out slightly behind.

Ethiopia 2 : East Africa 0

The third and final contender was the Uganda Engagi, a limited release from Perk Coffee and not part of their permanent selection. Tasting notes included not one, not two but three types of apple — red, custard and pine.

You might be thinking: “I’ve never heard of apples growing on pine trees!” and you would be right. But you must have heard of this tropical fruit called a pine-apple *ba dum tss*. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Anyway, back to the coffee.

It wasn’t as fruity as indicated, and we couldn’t detect any of the three tasting notes, but it was a decent cup which grew on us the more cups we drank. Did we prefer it to Perk’s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe? Unfortunately, no.

So, final result after three rounds — Ethiopia 3 : East Africa 0, for a convincing win.

I’ve heard good things about Tanzanian coffee, but haven’t had the chance to try it out yet. I’ll definitely grab a bag the next chance I get, and complete my virtual tour of East Africa.

But until then, we’ll stick with our trusty Ethiopian beans, especially those from the highlands of Guji.

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