JUICE BOMB #6
Origin: Ibonia Estate, Kiambu County, Kenya
Varietals: Ruiru 11, SL28 & SL32
Notes: pink grapefruit, apricot, Earl Grey tea
Back again by popular demand & frankly, incessant emails/DMs/phonecalls regarding the status of the "next" Juicebomb. LoL.
This little thing we did years ago to call a coffee "Juicebomb"...our big Kenyan purchase of the year...seems to have really taken off because of all of you. So Thanks for that!
It really came about in the most mundane way, really. We'd cup tables of coffee's & say "oh man, that coffee's such a juicebomb" or something to that effect. It was a no brainer to design a bag around that and source some juicy coffees to throw in there. Kenya has always had these coffees that, if roasted right, always felt so deeply sweet & juicy, to the point that your pallet is whetted in just the right way & it keeps you coming back for more. Did this just get NSFW?!
HA! Nah, but for real, we love this Ibonia estate lot...there's a bunch so hopefully it's around for a while. Here's to another year of JB & here's to y'all for making this a thing. LOVE.
Working with the same Co-Op/Factory/Estate & 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.
Located only three miles from Kiambu Town, Ibonia Estate spans nearly 200 hectares - 60% of which is natural forest, wetlands, rivers and wildlife. The rest is dedicated to coffee, which is worked by around 200 workers during the harvest.
The soil is rich and red Kikuyu loam, the genetics are dominated by SL28s, and the management practices are top-notch.
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".