The 3rd installation in our "Juice Bomb" series is an outlier. Usually we see dark blackberry & currant type notes in conventional Kenyan coffees but, Kiandu is special. It's got this really sweet mango/apricot fruit flavour that finishes on a delicate vanilla cake vibe which, together, make for an interesting cup. We cupped tons of Kenyans and had a tough time deciding which one we would take...there were lots of great cups. This one took the cake tough ; )
About KIANDU & Kenya
Kiandu coffee factory was one of 18 factories to form the now famous Tetu Coffee Growers Cooperative. In 1989 they split-off to merg with
Mutheka FCS. And 2011 they finally became a society of their own, with a reputation for good management and high returns. The late Prof. Wangari
Maathai (Nobel Peace Price Laurerate) hails from this locality as well.
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.