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Coffee origin update: Kenya 2019

19. July 2019

Coffee from Kenya is one of the most important in our offer. They are extremely popular and unique in taste. That is why all of the selective coffee traders in the world are very interested in them.

That is why we return to Kenya repeatedly in person. Our last visit took place in February 2019. Below you will find a summary of it and also the principles we followed when buying this season. As a result, you will be able to see all the Kenyan coffees that you can look forward to this year.

We went to Kenya this year with slight concern. They were not so much about the January terrorist attack in Nairobi (though we were definitely scared too), but especially about the information we recorded during the year. They talked about the fact that up to half of the harvest was destroyed by frost at the time of flowering. That is why Mie Hansen, the director of Kenyacof, has reassured us very much. At the initial briefing at the Karen laboratories, she assured us that although the effects of freezing were certainly visible, the wet weather of summer 2018 was the biggest bloom in the last few years. That is why the total harvest volume was higher than in the previous year.

In Apropos, laboratories – in fact, everyone who comes to Kenya for coffee will spend most of their time in one of them – is where all the samples from each week of harvest in the country are concentrated. This is due to the much centralized way of trading Kenyan coffee. As Nordbeans, we regularly visit the aforementioned Kenyacof Laboratory (where we spent the most time) and the Dormans Laboratory. It was this year that moved to ultramodern space near Ruiru. Only her visit was an experience.

But now for the selection of coffees. We arrived in Kenya with the intention to choose the coffee from as many local sub-regions as possible, of which Kirinyaga and Nyeri are the best known. While the first one we devoted ourselves to intensively in the past years, our last coffee from Nyeri was Kenya's first ever Nordbeans - Kahuro history in 2016. Furthermore, we wanted to verify how coffee will be made this year by cooperatives, whose coffee we have already roasted in the past. The third objective was to make another attempt to establish a more direct and stable relationship with one of the coffee goods (estates) or factories.

On a practical level, we were looking for coffee for the Kenyan variant of the Owl’spresso espresso, one of the two components for the summer edition of the Popík Prague Esky espresso and the cross-sectional offer for the AA, AB and PB grain filters. First to the filters - just the first to get to our offer. We are the first to offer the most interesting coffee ever to buy this year in Kenya. It comes from the Wanjengi processing plant, which is part of the Kahuhia Cooperative Society. We visited Wanjengi in the Muranga area personally, based on the results of blind cupping. Plus, we keep in touch with their team. Thanks to Paul Mwangi, we have a regular overview of what's happening in the race, including meetings of the member farmers, race management meetings, farm fertilization, and so on. In any case, Wanjengi AA is a great coffee that resembles sweet lemonade with raspberries, cherries, and sparkling acidity.

Soon you can enjoy Ichuga AB coffee from Nyeri. It comes from the same name race in the correctly co-operative Kiama. If the information we received in Kenya is true, we should be the only European roaster to work with this coffee. This should also apply to Gituja coffee. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it comes from the lesser-known region of Tharaka-Nithi, and secondly, it is a coffee estate, the so-called estate. This means that the farm and the processing plant are not owned by the cooperative (or its members), but have one specific owner. In this case, it is Jepson Karau M’Muthara. We also bought coffee from private estates in Kirinyaga (Makena) and Kiambu (Cianda). In addition, we visited the Cianda race in person and discussed the production with her manager Jeremy.

In espress the situation was especially baked. Among the hundreds of samples in the Kenyacof lab, we selected the ones that were auctioned on Nairobi Coffee Exchange the next day. So, in order to get them for you, it was necessary to auction them off. This eventually succeeded in both cases. So you can look forward to the juicy Rurima AB espresso from Embu, which is full of peaches and ripe citruses. For Popík, the Kii coffee choice (also Embu), which smelled of lemon lozenges and tasted of apples and sweet tropical fruit, fell. At the same time, we fulfilled one of the above goals, we offered coffee from the Runget’o cooperative already during last year's harvest.

We have to discuss the news from logistics. As you may have noticed, most coffee shops are set around Nairobi, which lies inland. Because coffee goes to Europe by sea, all exports go from the port of Mombasa. Since 2018, a refurbished railway works between these 2 cities. That is why the Kenyan government is introducing a new system where the handling and customs clearance of the container is already under way in Nairobi. Mombasa’s move is then just a matter of transshipment and unloading, the process is not delayed by administration. In the future, everything should accelerate the export of coffee from the country so that we all have it sooner. But the whole system is just being introduced...

And that is probably all for 2019. Let us know which Kenyan coffee you liked the most. #KnowYourCoffee


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