March: it's time to travel to Kenya to buy coffee.
Kenya is our favourite filter-coffee-bean-origin. The flavor profile is very fruity and the omni present acidic elements give the coffee a refreshing character. Thanks to the immaculate processing, coffees are very clean and the transparency and traceability of the top lots is better then what we are used to in most coffee origins.
This year our team was me and Jeff, Caffenation head roaster. Or the same team that did the first buying trip to Kenya, already 4 years ago.
It's not so easy to find the right flight, but with a stop over in Ethiopia in the back of our mind, we decided to fly via Ethiopian airlines and an arrival 24 hours before the start of the cupping. This way we were giving us extra time to relax and adjust. Which was the right decision seen the worst sleep ever on an airplane. At some previous origins i had trouble breathing at night, due to the lower air pressure in combination with fog. Mainly Bogota (Colombia) and Mexico City were horrible, but i never suffered this on an airplane, till this flight....
Knackered you arrive at destination, but luckily the transfer from the airport to the Karen region in Nairobi, where Kenyacof is situated, is not so difficult and by the time we arrive Monday morning at the cupping tables we are jumping up and down from excitement and ready for action.
Every year i have coffee friends or/and clients who ask me to go with us to Kenya and this year it was our good friend and coffee dealer Alex from Bucharest, and his girlfriend Katrina, who joined forces.
The whole set up and buying process is a bit complicated to explain, but briefly we taste around 100 coffee lots before reducing this number to something like 20 or 30.
These last round coffees get their way to the table by Tuesday noon and after careful calibration we end up with 10 fantastic lots in all kind of sizes, prices, screen types (AA, AB, PB and for the first time ever a C), flavors and regions.
One nice AA lot from Tuniuru goes exclusively to Dose.
The C lot, which is smaller beans and left overs, we bought was very well sorted and is destined for our summer Mr LGB blend.
One big PB (peaberry)bulk lot is for a partnership with a Polish partner and for (greens)sale to other roasteries.
All the rest will be roasted and bagged in our orange Kenya Ken bags, and a little bit in the brown Spro Joe bags, as espresso of the week.
On special demand we get all the green beans vac packed, to preserve the flavors, and in Antwerp we keep them in a cool and protected place till we need them for roasting. We monitor the beans from here on and we also keep in mind the harvest and processing date, region, variety and screen size, so we can offer Kenyan coffees all year round, without loosing too much of its original characteristics.
The information of the beans we bought will periodically be published on our coffee blog. If you want to read more about it you can click the following link.
If you haven't tasted light roasted Kenyan filter coffee yet or you want to re-experience their rich fruity elements, you can address yourself to the coffee beans section of this page and order some. The current Kenya Ken is the Kamwangi AB from the Kirinyaga region. A clean cup with floral notes, zesty flavors and a black tea like mouthfeel. Enjoy.
Rob, Caffenation green coffee buyer.