Kenyan specialty coffees are world-renowned. Mention Kenya within a group of coffee enthusiasts, and it is likely that some will walk you through their ‘top 10’ or ‘best of’ lists containing beautiful Kenyan coffees.
The iconic, vibrant, juicy, and acidic Arabica coffees are a refined and celebrated product of nature and cannot be overlooked when one dives into the world of specialty coffee.
Our cuppers often find syrupy blackcurrant profiles and explosive acidities while cupping Kenyan specialty coffees.
Kenya has all the perfect ingredients to bring forth staggering coffees, from; altitude, moderate soft temperatures (12° C and 20° C), equatorial rainfalls delivering sufficient precipitation, and – hard to overlook when you open an encyclopedia – the equator, that runs through the center of the country.
A long history of coffee cultivation within Kenya proves that Kenyans are pretty much aware of the potential of their coffee. 75% of all Kenyans are involved in the agricultural sector.
A sector that takes up one-third of the Kenyan GDP. Coffee is the third export crop in volume and continuous to be vital to the country’s economy.
The Kenyan coffee market, like many other origins, is dominated by smallholders. These small-scale farmers are members of large Cooperatives that collect incoming cherries.
Cooperatives deliver the entire harvest to dry mills that take responsibility of processing and grading coffee.
A so-called Marketing Agent, after receiving permission of the Cooperative, offers the coffee – via the Nairobi Coffee Exchange auction – to international buyers; often exporters. These exporters buy and sell the coffee to importers; the last piece of the value chain before coffee finds its way to coffee roasters.
Although held in high esteem by nearly all coffee professionals, quality Kenyan coffees have become a rarity nowadays.
Reported volume drops, high priced lots, and disappointing cupping results are all alarming symptoms of a coffee industry in distress.
Kenya lost its former glory; somewhere between the sudden volume drops reported in 1988 and today. In 2018, we decided to investigate what was happening to this beautiful coffee origin.
During the course of several months, we met the people of Ndaroini Coffee Ltd. in Nyeri.
The neglected – often underpaid – Ndaroini smallholders expressed their frustration with the current market situation in Kenya and were eager to change their course when we revealed our intentions of setting up a new supply chain. At the beginning of 2019, we purchased the entire harvest of Ndaroini and joined their coffee revolution.