Editor’s note: This update was a collaborative effort between Caitlin McCarthy-García, Max Nicholas-Fulmer, and Charlie Habegger.
On a global level, weather patterns in Brazil brought doubt to the world’s coffee supply in mid-2021; while in Kenya, labor and input costs on the farm remained ever high due to the pandemic. In Kenya specifically, movement of people between Nairobi and the countryside was particularly restricted, further exacerbating labor shortages during post-harvest processing.
Fortunately, qualities are up as well historically, as much-needed rainfall and sunshine during sensitive times of the crop cycle led to fewer instances of pest and disease, both of which can downgrade even the best outturns, or threaten even the best growers. Kenya’s firey cup profiles and shelf life that holds up menus and blends months beyond most of the world’s coffees keeps them irreplaceable for roasters.
Despite the auction prices our buying never faltered this season. We have what we consider to be the best, most stunning variety of coffees from Kenya’s central counties (and select lots from the western Rift Valley). Remarkably, and in spite of ongoing container shortages at the Nairobi dry port, we were able to get our earliest shipments out within the initial weeks of the year, and received our first 2022 sailings on the West Coast in June, which is right on time.
Early arrivals from our longtime partners in Nyeri, the Othaya Society, have not disappointed. Multiple coffees have been featured on bar in the Tasting Room at The Crown and are currently available as Crown Jewels. Think exceptionally clean fruits, huge sweetness, and sparkling acidity. Summer in a cup, and tremendous as iced espresso.
While most of the full bag lots are nearly sold out, fear not if you missed the chance to try them. We have multiple mixed containers landing in August, September, and October featuring single factory outturns from Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Muranga, and Kiambu. We are still booking microlots for late shipments to help roasters cover further forward.
Of particular interest for the connoisseur should be another Royal and Othaya collaboration: two Red Cherry Program selections from the Ichamama Factory landing August 19th (28208 Kenya FT Nyeri Othaya Ichamama Red Cherry Program AA 18TY0019 Grainpro Bags and 28209 Kenya FT Nyeri Othaya Ichamama Red Cherry Program AB 18TY0019 Grainpro Bags). If you love citrusy and savory Kenyas, consider these:
27172 Kenya Kirinyaga Rungeto Karimikui AB
27434 Kenya Kirinyaga Rungeto Karimikui AA
27174 Kenya Kirinyaga Baragwi Guama AA
27175 Kenya Kiambu Kimaratia Gatare AA
27173 Kenya Kirinyaga Baragwi Kariru AB
For tropical fruit, a complex acidity, and lingering finish, we suggest:
28098 Kenya Nyeri Othaya Ichamama AB
28094 Kenya Nyeri Othaya Maganjo AA
28095 Kenya Nyeri Othaya Gura AA
28096 Kenya Nyeri Othaya Gura AB
28097 Kenya Nyeri Ichamama AA
As always, we encourage you to plan ahead and work with your trader to book forward. Get in touch with us at email@example.com to review your Kenya selections.