Kenya Coffee Collection
Kenya is one of the twenty largest coffee producing nations on earth, exporting upwards of 1.2 million pounds of coffee per year. Unlike some more industrialized coffee growing nations, roughly 70% of Kenyan coffee production is attributed to small stake holders, yet over six million Kenyans are employed in coffee production; nearly 3% of the nation's total population.
Kenyan coffee production is largely based on a cooperative system from start to finish. Small stake holder farmers grow, tend, and harvest coffee. Once harvested, coffee is delivered to regional mills called factories or washing stations, where the coffee is milled, wash processed, dried, and graded. Coffee is graded by screen size, meaning all coffee is passed through a set of screens, each with increasingly smaller holes. Screen size is loosely relative to quality, with screen sizes AA and AB representing the largest screen size (therefore largest beans), and thus the highest level of quality.
A factory, or washing station may pull coffee from hundreds of small farmers, combining each grade of coffee to produce coffee for export that is named for that factory cooperative, thus representing the full flavor spectrum of a specific region of Kenya. The most notable regions for quality Kenyan coffee production are Kericho, Nakuru, Kirinyaga, Bungoma, Nyanza, Kisii, the Aberdare Range, The Great Rift Valley, and the plateaus around Mt. Kenya.
The three coffees featured in this collection represent the most sought after characteristics of high-quality Kenyan coffee. Kenyan coffee is stereotypically full of boisterous, often somewhat savory acidity. Typical first impressions of Kenyan coffees include hints of tomato, caramelized vegetable, and lush, overripe fruits. Our featured coffees are definitely recognizable as fine Kenyan coffees, and boast some of those typical characteristics, but we've sourced these coffees, specifically, because they add dynamic complexity beyond those recognizable flavors.
The Gikirima AA's acidity is both rich and tart, reminiscent of reduced blackberry or or apricot jam, with a spicy, almost cooling finish like clove, or eucalyptus. The Gakuyu-ini AB has a more delicate character, more focused on floral aromatics and flavors like honeysuckle and melon, but with a sweet tannin that is reminiscent of young persimmon. Finally, our most recent release, the Irati AB, begins with distinct blackberry tartness, but develops into more baked and savory notes like stewed apples and butterscotch. Each of these coffees are a mouthful of flavors, and are best enjoyed slowly. Dynamic coffees like these tend to develop as they cool, so from the first sip to the last, the cup is a journey.