Review: Sparrow Coffee Kenya Iriguini (Chicago, Illinois)

I’ve written up a bit more detail regarding Sparrow Coffee in my review of their Ethiopia Guji, but for anyone unfamiliar with them, Sparrow is known for being one of Chicago’s most exclusive roasters, providing custom coffee blends for a long list of Michelin-starred restaurants. I picked up this single-origin at their roastery location in Chicago. They did not have any pre-printed bags available for me, but they kindly wrote down everything I needed to know for these beans.

Whole bean: Bit funky of an aroma, with lots of layers. I remember being really shocked the first time I tried a Kenyan coffee because of its complexity and almost vegetal flavor notes (cherry tomato and celery). Since then, I’ve experienced a wide variety of tastes in Kenyan coffees but this is one country where I never quite know what to expect.

V60: I brewed this for 3:35 and the coffee that resulted was like a dark chocolate syrup. Decadent but not overly sweet.

French press: Complex and rich cup of coffee with a really plush mouthfeel. This actually felt like drinking wine (maybe a Lodi Zinfandel?) without the boozy flavor. The taste was borderline savory. The dark chocolate notes from before were nowhere to be found here!

Chemex: Simpler flavors than the French press cup… Smoother-drinking but still interesting to sip. I kept marveling at the velvety, soft, mouthfeel with this coffee.

AeroPress: This wasn’t my favorite method for these beans, as I felt the result came out edgy and bracing. Kind of a harsher flavor here vs. the other methods.

Summary: This is a robust Kenyan with notes of dark chocolate and red wine, and a really soft, luscious mouthfeel. This is one coffee tasting that did feel more like I was doing a wine tasting!

From the roaster: No tasting notes provided

As far as I can tell, Sparrow does not sell their coffee online, but you can pick up bags at the Naperville cafe and at their Chicago roastery, or you can sample one of dozens and dozens of custom Sparrow roasts in Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago!

Sparrow Coffee

Review conducted 4-5 days post-roast.

6 Replies to “Review: Sparrow Coffee Kenya Iriguini (Chicago, Illinois)”

  1. Margaret,
    Love reading you’re reviews. Thank you.
    Any suggestions were Sparrow roasted coffee can be purchased online please?


    1. Hi Rob, I don’t know of any way to buy Sparrow Coffee online, but perhaps you might call the roastery or the cafe location in Naperville for suggestions?

  2. Actually I did send a note via their website asking if they sold online. That was about a week ago and still no response.

    1. I emailed them as well about a week before my Chicago trip in February to confirm I’d be able to purchase beans at the roastery and I never got a response either. I don’t think they’re focused too much on consumer sales since they’re largely a wholesaler, but maybe you’ll have better luck contacting the café. Good luck!

  3. I think you nailed it.

    Thanks for the followup.


    1. Happy to help, thanks for visiting!

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