A visit to Kenya to source coffee is a totally different experience than visiting any other coffee producing country. Our friends at Nordic Approach work closely in the country, stepping up their presence during post-harvest lot separation and assessment, and they maintain great relationships with different cupping labs and export companies, a necessity when purchasing and moving quality Kenyan coffees. Often we are able to secure lots from Farmers Co-operative Societies with whom we have worked in the past, but sometimes such a luxury is not possible and we have to explore other offerings armed only with a cupping spoon.
Visiting both the Ibero and Dormans cupping labs to taste through a whole range of coffees from different areas, we wanted to put together an interesting array of Kenyan profiles to show that there’s more than just blackcurrant in their repertoire. Easily the most distinctive and expressive coffee of our trip was the Marimira AA that we pounced on as a potential filter coffee release and are pleased to be releasing to you now. Shipped in vacuum sealed bricks rather than the standard jute bags most coffee is packed in; the extra costs involved in such is worth it in our eyes with a coffee as good as this.
Overseen by the Iyego co-operative, the Marimira Factory has been processing coffee since 1966. It can be found within a conserved natural ecological area near Kangema in the western part of the Murang’a region. With a diverse range of flora and fauna in abundance animals such as antelopes and jackals can be found roaming free. The 600 or so smallholder farmers who tend to an average of 100 trees, deliver their cherry to the factory for processing, and after rigorous sorting for under and over-ripes, as well as damaged cherry, the fruit is pulped, dry fermented, washed and soaked multiple times before drying on raised beds. The water used for processing comes from the Mukungai stream, and after being used for processing the water is post treated at the factory in large pits to ensure it is clean before going back into the ecosystem.
Once the coffee has been processed and dried on raised beds, the dry mill ensures each lot remains separate for sale at auction. There is scope to extensively cup at the mill itself to cherry-pick the desirable lots before they make their way to auction, and by paying a slight premium over current auction prices Nordic Approach are able to secure the more characterful and distinctive lots for themselves, and subsequently we are able to cup the higher selections available for us to take. The traceability of the pricing systems in Kenya assures that the higher price paid for stellar coffees makes its way back to the producers themselves, in some cases societies operating in such a way ensures up to 90% of the price paid for the coffee goes to the farmers.
Tonnes of juicy rhubarb and raspberry flavours cut through a clean and sparkling cup, complemented by a distinct hoppy aroma and a lightly jammy texture.