Recently, I received a message from Ms. Mei Hong, the CEO of Kahvikeisarinna, the Tampere (Finland) based company that specializes in Vietnamese coffee. She kindly asked if I wanted to test an initial version of a new 100% Robusta coffee which they were developing with Kahwe, the great artisan roastery that is known for their amazing coffee products.
Would I like to test a new Robusta coffee? Of course! I love Robusta!
Along with the beans, Ms. Hong was kind enough to provide me with phin coffee drippers and some condensed milk for the true Vietnamese coffee experience.
While I really liked the initial version, I promised I wouldn’t write anything about the coffee until they had tweaked it to perfection.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is it: Ritari Rohkea (”The Brave Knight”). It is 100% washed Robusta, cultivated by Mr. Toi Nguyen at Future Coffee Farm, Bao Loc, Vietnam. The roast is ”dark”—somewhat darker than a basic Italian espresso.
Now, I knew that brewing Vietnamese coffee in a moka pot would probably be considered unorthodox. But I just had to try it anyway. That’s just the way I seem to find the essence of any given coffee.
In the bouquet, I detected all the classic robusta notes:
- some earth
The mouthfeel was extremely smooth and creamy.
All the different flavors worked together in perfect harmony. I musical terms, the notes could be described as follows:
- soprano: vanilla & toffee/caramel
- alto: semi-dry acidity & pencil shavings
- baritone: medium dark chocolate & some hazelnuts
- bass: tacit
But then I tried brewing the coffee in the phin dripper. That’s when the magic happened.
The mouthfeel remained very smooth, but the initial flavors were pleasantly dry and mildly acidic. This aspect of the flavor profile was mostly about the ”pencil shavings”. Very soon afterwards, however, the flavors shifted to a semi-sweet combination of hazelnuts, toffee, and some chocolate. There was a hint of vanilla in the finish as well.
The flavor profile offered me the perfect combination of robust masculinity and gentle sophistication. It was potent enough to provide a good base for Vietnamese coffee drinks that use the sweet condensed milk. At the same time, however, it was subtle enough to be enjoyed on its own.
All in all, I found Ritari Rohkea to be an excellent product. It must be one of the best straight robustas I’ve ever had. If you like Robusta, you owe it to yourself to get some from Kahvikeisarinna. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to get a phin dripper as well!
Kudos to Kahvikeisarinna and Kahwe roastery for the fantastic experience!