Diverse varieties and exceptional post-harvest techniques within a transparent, quality-focused supply chain.

Since we started sourcing from Kenya in 2012, we have focused on offering a unique range of flavour profiles, including well-known flavours like blackberry and black currant, and lesser-known flavours like hoppy florals and citrus fruits. With transparent access to the supply chain via our trusted partners, we prioritise our relationships with Farmers Cooperative Societies, who manage the factories we source from.

Harvesting season

October - January

Arrival times

March - May

Quantities

Varies from 5 – 50 bag lots. Average is 20 bag lots.

Packaging

30 kg vacuum boxes & 60 kg grain pro bags

Cultivars

Mainly SL 28, SL 34, K7

Processes

Fully washed and sun-dried on African beds

Flavour profiles

Blackberry, black currant, plums, stone fruit, florals, & citrus fruits

Usage

Widely used for filters, more seldom as espresso

Shelf life

Normally holds up well for a year. We can never guarantee more than 6 months after arrival for any coffees.

Sourcing

We prioritise building relationships with Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS) that own and operate coffee processing factories (washing stations). These FCS may oversee multiple factories. While we prioritise purchasing from the same factories annually, we are also open to establishing relationships with producers of any scale in any coffee-growing region. Our coffees primarily come from smallholder farmers who deliver their harvest to washing stations managed by various FCS in Central Kenya.

These factories procure cherries from smallholders and small-scale farm owners (typically with a few hundred trees). These cherries are combined into a daily lot, usually comprising cherries from hundreds of different smallholders. Even the most renowned factories exhibit a range in quality. The FCS oversees the processing and shares the profits with its members.

In recent years, we've shifted our focus from Nyeri county to Kirinyaga county due to the discovery of higher-quality coffees there. Additionally, we source from other counties such as Embu, Muranga, and Kiambu. Given the relatively high price points for coffees in Kenya, we meticulously cup through the outturns to select the best-performing coffees each year. We maintain relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure that premiums are returned to the producers, many of whom take pride in delivering favourable returns to the farmers.

How coffee is bought

A producer typically has agreements with the factory they deliver cherries to. When the consignment is ready, the parchment is delivered to the factory, typically around 200 bags, equivalent to around 130 bags of exportable greens.

Previously, exporters could buy coffee through auctions or negotiate prices with cooperatives via marketing agents. However, this system changed in 2023, with new regulations in place. Marketing agents have been replaced by brokers who require specific licences to operate. 

Exporters now must wait for coffee to enter auctions before acquiring samples and making purchases. This means they can no longer buy directly from cooperatives or access early samples as before.

Despite these changes, exporters can still secure quality coffees through the auction process, albeit with adjustments. The milling process has also changed, with the majority of mills now government-owned, aimed at preventing concentration under multinational entities.

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Harvest & Post-Harvest

A step-by-step overview

Quality

Farmers in Kenya can select the factory where they deliver their cherries, with several options often available. Well-managed factories compete for cherries by rewarding nearby farmers to maintain their loyalty, prioritising quality in Kenya's auction system to command higher prices for superior coffees.

We seek characteristic flavour profiles in our coffees, including jammy blackcurrant notes, and we procure natural lots with exceptional cup scores. There's a growing diversity of flavours emerging, with development in lesser-known regions focusing on higher quality. Common flavours include blackberry, black currant, grapes, and intense florals, as well as red berries, plums, stone fruit, hoppy florals, and citrus fruits. Additionally, there's a presence of more fermented and process-driven profiles from washed coffees undergoing extended fermentation.

Transparency

The traditional auction system in Kenya is very transparent, with everything clearly separated into small lots and different grades. Farmers know exactly what portion of the sales price goes back to the cooperative society after processing costs. Some cooperative societies and factories are able to pay back up to 90% of the sales price after deducting marketing and preparation costs.

We offer detailed information on all products as well as price transparency throughout the supply chain. You will usually have access to what we paid to the farmers and the FOB price.

Impact

We collaborate with partners engaged in specialty coffee and initiatives aimed at farm sustainability, fair pricing, and quality bonuses for farmers. Our main emphasis lies in fostering long-term relationships with Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS), ensuring consistent sourcing from the same producers annually. However, we also remain open to acquiring exceptional coffees from new producers or washing stations if they stand out during cupping evaluations.

About the origin

Kenya, located between longitudes 34-42 and latitudes 5, covers an area of 580,000 square kilometres and is home to approximately 43 million inhabitants. The country's main coffee growing areas are around Mt. Kenya in Central Kenya and west towards Mt. Elgon at the border of Uganda. 

Kenya's yearly production of green coffee ranges from 45,000 to 65,000 tons and consists mainly of fully washed coffees. Kenya is known as the world's top quality producer, with over 700,000 smallholder coffee farmers, representing about 55% of the production. The rest are mainly estates, with 3000 small estates of less than 20 hectares, 300 larger ones, and about 1,100 cooperative wet mills. Coffee exports make up approximately 10% of Kenya's income. 

The coffee industry in Kenya began with British colonists in 1897 and went through significant changes in the 1930s when the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union became a dominant voice of the Kenyan coffee planters. In 1932, the Coffee Board of Kenya was established, and in 1934, they established the coffee auction. In 1978, the smallholder sector surpassed the large estates in terms of production, accounting for more than 50% of total production. 

However, the coffee plant faces challenges, such as the fungus that causes Coffee Berry Disease and leaf rust, which can be treated with expensive copper-based fungicides.

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Contact us

Want to know more? Talk with our experts.

Morten Wennersgaard
Co-CEO & Co-Founder
Joanne Berry
Head of Sourcing & Procurement
Alec Oyhenart
Director of Operations
Espen Stokkan-Smith
Lab Manager

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