Price $5.10 per pound
Bag Weight 133.03 lbs
Flavor Profile Lemon/lime zest, berry, chocolate
900 farmers organized around Kabngetuny FCS
SL-28, SL-34, Batian, and Ruiru-11
Kericho County, Kenya
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
September - January
Kericho county is a long stretch from Nairobi, far further than the country’s accessible central counties, most of which can be reached in two hours’ drive from the city. To reach Kericho, on the other hand, requires a sweeping route along the eastern escarpment of the majestic Rift Valley, down across its lake-filled lowlands, and up the opposite slope. Tea is Kenya’s most lucrative export by far, and Kericho county is a tea-producing powerhouse (“Kericho Gold” is one of Kenya’s national brands of bagged tea that is exported worldwide). The county sits just over the ridge from the enormous Lake Victoria, a source of near-constant humidity cycles for the region and an outlet for much of its local trade. In specialty coffee, this part of Kenya is lesser-known than the central counties. But producer groups here as just as old, experienced, and organized as Kenya’s more famous regions.
The Kabngetuny Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS) was first established in 1985, and to this day has only one processing site. Kabngetuny is located in the Kipkelion district of Kericho county surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Nandi hills and Mau Natural Reserve, at the admirable elevation of 2000 meters, higher than many central Kenya organizations are found. The society has 900 total members, 300 of which are women, and with a combined production of 281 hectares—less than 1/3 of a hectare of coffee per farmer on average—most of whom produce some combination of corn, beans, squash, and banana in addition to coffee.
Kenya is of course known for some of the most meticulous at-scale processing that can be found anywhere in the world. Bright white parchment, nearly perfectly sorted by density and bulk conditioned at high elevations is the norm, and a matter of pride, even for generations of Kenyan processing managers who prefer drinking Kenya’s tea (especially in Kericho) to its coffee. The established milling and sorting by grade, or bean size, is a longstanding tradition and positions Kenya coffees well for roasters, by tightly controlling the physical preparation and creating a diversity of profiles from a single processing batch. Kabngetuny depulps and ferments their coffee the same day they are picked and delivered by members, then ferments overnight, washes the parchment clean, and dries slowly over 2-3 weeks on raised beds.
“18KE2020” in the title refers to this coffee’s “outturn” number. Outturn numbers are unique microlot codes that are given to each and every batch of parchment delivered to dry mills from individual factories or estates anywhere in Kenya, and are the units on which Kenya’s entire microlot export system is built. Outturns in Kenya are tracked with a shorthand code that places the specific batch of parchment coffee in time, place, and sequentially with other coffees. Outturns are stylized as an 8 or 9-character code, including a 2-digit “coffee week” number, a 2-letter mill code, and a 3 or 4-digit intake number for the coffee’s delivery. This particular code accompanies the lot throughout the entire journey from factory to export to ensure full traceability.