Review: Heart Coffee Roasters Kenya Kiangoi (Portland, Oregon)

After my lovely experience reviewing Heart Coffee Roasters Stereo Blend, I was very much looking forward to visiting a Heart cafe location while in Portland and picking up some of their single-origin beans. There were multiple locations in Portland and I don’t think I ended up at the biggest one, but the smallish location I visited near downtown was still quite pretty to my eye.


I asked what was available as a pourover, and the barista informed me that they only had drip (or espresso-based drinks). This disappointed me slightly, as I wanted a manual pourover, but even so, the Guatemalan coffee they served me was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had to date.


As I browsed their bean selection, trying to decide what ONE coffee I would allow myself to buy and take home, I came across their Ethiopia Yukro which among other things listed thimbleberry in their tasting notes. Here is a rough transcription of the conversation that transpired:

Barista: Can I help you find anything? Do you have any questions?
Me: Actually, I do have a question… what is “thimbleberry?” I’ve never heard of this!
Barista: You know, neither have I! It does sort of sound like a made-up name. Maybe it’s rare? Maybe it’s like a unicorn berry… You know, how like with unicorns, no one is sure if they’re real or not?
Me: ………………..
Barista: Oh wait… LOL! Did I just say that?! (Yep. And it was hilarious.)

I did NOT end up buying the unicorn berry coffee because this Kenya Kiangoi was calling to me, but maybe another time. 😛

Whole bean: vanilla ice cream scent + iced tea aroma, along with dried sweetened cranberries. Ground, it smelled like raspberries. This is one sweeeet smelling coffee!

French press: Rich and gorgeous mouthfeel that coats the palate like ice cream. Tea-like tannins are present but I tasted a lot more cranberry/raspberry flavor. There was a nice bright note of pineapple juice on the finish.

Chemex: Juicy, refreshing flavors of pineapple and cranberry juices. This was mouth-watering. I loved it hot, but it would be REALLY terrific iced.

AeroPress: Consumed straight as a concentrate, I wrote down: “kind of awesome but maybe too much for some? it’s like a cup of liquid superpowers.” Very strong!! It was rather tart, and it tasted like a pep talk. You know, in those sports movies when the team is trailing at halftime and the coach meets the dejected team in the locker room to fire them up with a speech about giving your all and never backing down? That’s what this cup was like. It yelled at me, but with good intentions. I was ready to go score a touchdown! Once I added water, the pep talk changed into a much more gentle affirmation. A kinder, friendlier way to motivate you to start your day.

V60: This had the least amount of fruity tartness. It was one smooth operator. The overall taste was sweet and enveloping, like a dog or cat coming up and snuggling up next to you on a couch.

Summary: Once again, Heart knocked it out of the park for me. I really enjoyed this coffee, and Heart is quickly becoming one of my favorite roasters based on the quality of their roasted beans! All of the brew methods tasted fantastic, though I would say my personal favorite of this round was the Chemex for the pineapple/cranberry juice character.

From the roaster: Pineapple, cranberry, vanilla

Heart Coffee Roasters Kenya Kiangoi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.