Kenya Kibano Estate
Oftentimes what is hyped up in the coffee world overshadows the simple joys of finding the rare gems amongst the more traditional offerings. That's precisely what we've found in this Kenyan coffee, which showcases not only one, but two rare traits for Kenyan coffee!
It's common in Kenyan coffee for coffees to be sold as regional blends that are grouped into common lots at the mill-level. This practice is standard and there is plenty of stellar coffee to be had this way, but it's always special to highlight an individual producer. That marks the first rarity of this coffee. Our friends at La Baia Coffee Supply have the knack for building strong relationships at origin with entities doing more than just growing coffee and here they worked with Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters to find Joseph Kimutai Chebii. Joseph's estate lies in a remote area far from any coffee cooperatives, but that hasn't stopped him from wanting to cultivate and sell specialty coffee. KCCE has worked with Joseph to further his commitment to grow and process coffee in a resourceful fashion while balancing planning for climate change and the future of his estate. It's no joke!
The second rarity, the natural processing. You may, as this writer does, remember a day a few years ago when Kenyan coffee was synonymous with specialty coffee. Single origin espressos and pourover bars everywhere seemed to always highlight the tangy, electric, even umami-adjacent wonders of washed-process Kenyan coffee. While Kenyan coffee may not seem as ubiquitous as before, it certainly left an imprint on our collective memory of taste. This coffee does not jolt the palate with acid like the washed Kenyans we know, nor does it overwhelm with berries and funk like many natural coffees. Instead, the strength is in the restraint. This coffee yields a cup that speaks softly, but at length. Hot apple pie and a grocery store bulk section's worth of dried fruit come to mind in rich sweetness and body. As the coffee cools the long finish somehow extends and stretches out, exposing some of the orange Hi-C acidity we've come to expect from Kenyan coffee.