This crisp, bright cup opens with aromas of raspberry jam and semi-sweet chocolate. Flavors of black tea and lemonade with a touch of honeydew accompany wild strawberry acidity in the cup. The finish features grapefruit zest and an herbaceous eucalyptus tone.
Producer: Kiandu Farmers Cooperative Society
Farm: 1500 Smallholders
Altitude: 5,577-6,234 feet | 1,700-1,900 masl
Varietal: SL34, SL28, Ruiru 11, Batian
Notes: Lemonade Tea, Raspberry Jam, Eucalyptus
This coffee comes from 1500 smallholders of the Kiandu Farmers Cooperative Society. The cherries were pulped after harvest and fermented in tanks for 12-48 hours before washing, grading, and drying on raised beds for 7-14 days with regular turning to ensure even drying.
Imported by our friends at Crop to Cup. Read their thoughts on Kiandu Farmers Cooperative Society and Kenyan coffee at large below:
"Kiandu Coffee Factory was one of 18 factories to form the famous Tetu Coffee Growers Cooperative. In 1989 they split off to merge with Mutheka FCS. And in 2011 Kiandu finally became a society of their own, with a reputation for good management and high returns.
"Kenya is an enigma. It occupies a top spot in specialty coffee—Kenyan top lots are always amongst the most expensive of any harvest—yet coffee production is dropping year after year. Kenya is a place where traceability is given, but knowing what you want and how to get it are two different things. Rarely do we find partners more capable, and loyalties more difficult to navigate, than we do in Kenya. Competition in Kenya is fierce, making prized coffees feel like even more of a success.
"No matter how formally the industry is structured, coffee still remains a system of people. And in a country where farmers own their own cherry production, there is additional power in connecting with coffee’s most important stakeholders. Farmers can, for example, point you to the best collections from every harvest, or delay sending their lots to auction to give you another week to sample. At request they can change the way they separate lots, bringing new products to market in a year that would take other countries nearly a decade to do.
"But experimentation is not the name of the game. With washed coffees working so well, you won’t find many a manager willing to mess around with different fermentations, flotation, drying times or with certifications like organic.
"The experiment instead is that of business model. How do cooperatives normalize earnings to keep their members engaged in coffee? How do we take away red tape to encourage more farmers to plant more coffee, as opposed to corn or dairy? How can small estates split off and succeed under their own pulping license? Is it better to sell through auction or directly to an international buyer—can you afford to cut out your marketing agent? Once you speak to these problems you are speaking the language of coffee in Kenya."