August 2021 - Summer, Heat, Lions, That's My Train of Thought

August 2021’s Coffee Origin - Kenya

For some reason the heat of the summer makes me think of Lions. Maybe it was childhood trips to the zoo or just the association with dry heat and a Savanna. Regardless, the national animal of Kenya is the African Lion, which is all the excuse I need to choose this month's origin.

Kenya has a rich story with coffee (and control of agriculture) weaving its way through their history, definitely worth a Google search when you have time. Bordering Ethiopia, Kenya was oddly late to the commercial coffee scene. While sources vary, coffee was introduced in the 1890's with plants brought by French (Brazilian Bourbon) and Scottish (Mocha Varieties) missionaries. As a commercial crop, the British contributed to the diverse varieties and hybrids we find in Kenyan offerings (examples you will see on this month's bag include SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian and K7).

The Kenyan coffee you are about to enjoy was grown by a Cooperative of smallholder farmers and was processed through the Gondo Factory, a Coop Washing Station/Wet Mill. This Mill is operated by the New Kiriti Farmers Cooperative Society with a focus on improving the safety and work conditions of its members. Through education and training, the Cooperative has steadily improved both the quality and sustainability of their member's Coffees.

Varietal: SL-28, SL-34, Ruiru 11, Batian, K7
Growing Elevation: 6200+ feet
Process: Fully Washed and Sun Dried
Certification: AA, Micro-Lot
Harvest Start Month: October (Main Crop)
Harvest End Month: February (Main Crop)
Flavour Profile and Notes: GO CUP YOURSELF and find out!

When shopping for Kenyan coffees you may notice significant price differences between seemingly close geographical origins. For example the two Kenyans we currently have in our shop have a $11 per pound price difference. This is due in large part to the auction system under which Kenyan coffees are sold. The highest graded (AA), micro-lots and particularly interesting coffees will fetch a premium. Any coffee sold as direct trade/prearranged purchases (known as Second Window) are generally priced relative to the most recent auction.

This month's origin is a Micro-lot graded AA from the "Main Crop". It was picked and brought directly to the Gondo Mill where it was hand sorted. The best quality/largest cherries were selected from this Micro-lot after which they were depulped and washed with fresh water. They were then sun dried to the desired moisture level (11-12%) and exported. Kenyan coffees are known for their medium body and notable acidity. This month's coffee is representative of what to expect from a great Kenyan offering.

Roaster’s Notes:
This Kenyan Origin's roast was similar to its Ethiopian neighbor or even a Cuban Origin. If the heat was slightly high at the front end of the roast, first crack came on early, leaving us with an uneven roast. Even with the correct heat, second crack arrives quickly (albeit quietly) and continues to develop in the cooling tray. This makes it very easy to overshoot into a Dark Roast.  Luckily the quality of this Kenyan Origin makes our attention to detail worthwhile.  In keeping with your feedback, we have chosen to roast this Kenyan Gondo - Murang'a to a Light-Medium/Viennese Roast. This will allow us to discern the delicate profile of the Cup, balanced with the desire for a solid everyday drinking coffee. 

Cupping-wise, think caramel and burnt sugar followed by …wait a minute, if you want cupping notes Go Cup Yourself!

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Once you have finished Cupping, click on the “EXPERT TASTED” tab for our tasting notes. Can’t wait to compare notes.

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