"JUICE BOMB #5" Ndimaini

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  • "JUICE BOMB #5" Ndimaini

"JUICE BOMB #5" Ndimaini

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Co-op: Gakuyu

Origin / Origine: Karatina, Nyeri, Kenya

Membres/membership : 1150 approx.

Altitude: 1600m

Process: washed

Varietals: Ruiru 11, SL28, SL32, Batian (all peaberry)

Notes: blood orange, honey, grape, passionfruit

The Real Deal

It's always really tough to work through the difficulties regarding consistency in our Kenyan offering, for now anyway. Getting the same coffee year in, year out is very difficult because of how the trading is done. The lots are auctioned off every year & because it's always a kind of "Lottery", repeating the exact lot you had the previous year is extremely difficult. Working with the same Co-Op/Factory & having consistent quality is tough. Each year we have to hope to get something that we ultimately love, from a source we have worked with before & something we know  everyone can enjoy. Kenyan coffees are some of the most expensive, that's reflective in the pricing as you're probably all aware of if you're fans. In all honesty, every year we definitely have a cap on what we can spend at origin, but we make sure to make less on our Kenyan just so we can offer it as accessibly as possible. It's the real deal. That's our reality with Kenya right now but we have plans for the future to shake up the system & get closer to the people that make these incredible complex cups of coffee possible.

About Ndimaini

Ndimaini factory is located near Karatina town, and services 1150 smallholder farmers from three local villages, each farmer growing about 250 trees per lot, as well as corn and bananas. The area's land is red volcanic soil, and the farmers also typically grow macadamia and gravellea for shade.At this factory, farmers are given advances to pay for schooling as well as necessary inputs for their farms, and there are trainings held every year by the factory manager. Coffee in Kenya is typically traceable down to the factory, or mill level: Most farmers own between 1/8 to 1/4 of a hectare, and often grow crops other than coffee as well, which means they rely on a central processing unit for sale and processing of their coffee. Producers deliver in cherry form to a factory, where the cooperative will sort, weigh, and issue payment for the delivery. The coffee is then blended with the rest of the day's deliveries and goes on to be processed. Because of this system, which serves many hundreds to several thoughts of smallholder farmers per factory, there is limited traceability down to the individual producers whose coffee comprises the lots.

Kenya is an enigma. It occupies a top spot in specialty – Kenyan top lots are always amongst the most expensive of any harvest. But yet it’s a country where coffee production is dropping year over 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. For all the aforementioned reasons, competition in Kenya is fierce, making prized coffees feel like even more of a success.
However, 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 to connecting with coffee’s most important stakeholder. 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 – this is a country that already knows how to "coffee".


Farm to Filter

Roasted in Montreal