Way back in February I went to Kenya to find some good lots to bring home. At this time the harvest cycle was enging, and there are a lot of coffee going through the Kenyan coffee auction in Nairobi. It is usually a fun trip with a couple of days in Nairobi, where I pick out my favorite cups on a blind cupping table. After that, I like to take a trip upcountry to meet the farmers behind the coffee so I can learn more about how they work and what makes them special. This year turned out differently. The main crop in Kenya was lower than normal, about 40% lower I was told when asking around. This was due to unusual dry weather, that caused low flowering, and higher infestation by diseases and pests. With lower crop, the competition over the top lots got higher, and hence my long cupping hours. I ended up spending the whole trip in Nairobi. I kept cupping table after table after table. Some coffees where good, a few was great. One name popped out as a top lot over and over again. Kamwangi. As coffees are cupped blind, its always a joy seeing the same name continuously coming out on top, as this is a sign that they are doing a fantastic job at the washing station.
One of many cupping tables in Kenya
In the end, I found what I was looking for and I came home (very) satisfied. And now, several months later, when the coffee arrives to the roastery, I can rust, brew and drink what I got. The coffee moves fast, and two small lots are already history. I secured enough of Kamwangi though, and I have an AA lot that is available in the webshop, and an PB lot that I roast for espresso on order for my wholesale customers.
Drying beds at Kamwangi factory
Kamwangi is part of the New Ngariama Farmers Cooperative Society (FCS) and located in the Gichugu division in Kirinyaga district. Coffee here is grown around 1600-1800 masl on the slopes of Mount Kenya. The rich volcanic soil helps bring out the rich flavors in the coffee. The water for the washing station comes from nearby Nyamindi river. Kamwangi also have a water recirculation system set up as well as eight waste water soaking pits to help minimize the environmental impact. The coffee is bold, with blackcurrant, lemon and a long finish.