A couple of weeks ago, I attended a cupping event for Home Barista members. As luck would have it, five of my seven top picks (out of 22 world class coffees) were not available in this country. Thankfully, at least one of these seven was a Bay Area coffee. I headed over to Ritual to drink a calibrating cup and to pick up a bag of the Karimikui for home.
If I had to describe this coffee with just one word, it would be “grapefruit.” Of course, I don’t actually eat much grapefruit so I couldn’t say much about pink or standard or which heirloom varietal this coffee’s flavor most evokes (the bag noted simply “pink grapefruit”). But don’t let the fact that you don’t like grapefruit stop you. I pretty much can’t stand grapefruit, but for some reason, I really liked this coffee. Be warned, though, a coffee this bright isn’t for everyone. There’s also the fact that it costs $28/pound (although Ritual actually sells this coffee in groovy, black half-pound bags for $14).
If there is one flaw with the coffee, I’d say the grapefruit goes a bit pithy in the aftertaste. The good news is that this coffee is a two for one. I did a double-take eight days past the roast date when this coffee transformed. The intensely bright acidity mellowed considerably and the grapefruit notes faded into the background, leaving sweet tangerine with a hint of currants. I guess I just moved past my arbitrarily imposed one-word description.
For a brew method, I’d recommend a paper filter approach (clever, V60, etc.) for this coffee, although a siphon also works well. It has a beautiful viscous mouthfeel which worked all right in a french press but the other aspects of that brew method (or a gold cone in a clever) tend to obscure the more delicate flavors and aromas of this coffee. And, of course, with acidity like this, any kind of intensifying brew method, such as espresso or aeropress, is more or less a no-starter, unless you like to pucker.
The bottom line is that I’d definitely recommend trying a cup of this coffee if your Ritual-slinging cafe happens still to have it in stock, even given that a cup (or bag) will fetch a higher price than its other Ritual coffee cousins. Assuming you like what you taste, I’d definitely say it’s worth picking up a bag . Sometimes, I find Ritual’s higher priced coffees not quite worth the extra buck, but this one delivers, even at this steep price.