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Anyone who’s taken a deep dive into the world of specialty coffee knows that Kenyan coffees have a special place in the hearts and minds of discerning coffee drinkers. Since day one, we’ve had our eyes out for a Kenyan coffee that fit into our lineup, and though we’ve tried many we didn’t come across one that we really wanted to share until this year.
Coffee from this east African nation is indeed very unique, and for a few reasons. First (and arguably foremost) are the flavors. Flavors in coffee are a function of many different variables, but Kenyan coffees are known for their bright, complex fruit flavors, sweetness, and high acidity. Kenyan coffees also stand out because of excellent coffee research and development in the country, highly educated farmers and a very defined system for grading coffee. Like Ethiopian coffees, however, traceability can be a challenge. High-quality coffee in Kenya is increasingly grown by smallholder farmers, who grow coffee on small plots and deliver their coffee to a local washing station for sorting and processing. Thus, a single lot from a particular washing station may be comprised of coffees from several hundred different small farms.
This coffee, Kabare Kimandi AB Lot 1284, is sourced from smallholder farms organized around the Kimandi Factory (wet mill) located in Kirinyaga County, Kenya, in the fertile foothills of Mount Kenya. The Kabare Farmers’ Cooperative Society manages the Kimandi Factory, which processes cherries from members. With the harvest coming from small parcels, cherry classification is crucial for ensuring cup quality. Small plots give these producers more control to strategically pick and deliver only the ripest cherries to the factory. Additional cherry sorting is also done at the factory before the coffee is depulped, fermented and washed. After the coffee is washed, it’s soaked in fresh water for long periods of time to solidify the hallmark Kenyan flavor profiles.
This lot is comprised of Kenya’s hallmark SL-28 and SL-34 varieties and was grown 1700-1900 MASL. We love this coffee’s mixture of tamarind and grapefruit notes on the front end, with lingering sweetness and vanilla on the finish. Although Kenyan coffees are known for their intense acidity, we’ve found this coffee to be more balanced and enjoyable thnt many of the other Kenyans we’ve tried. We’re excited to bring you this super interesting coffee, and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.