After some exciting days with lots of cupping and visiting a good handfull of cooperatives, I am now on my way home (well I was at the time of writing) and can look back on a fantastic kafferejse.
We have cupped some great Kenyan coffees and met some of the amazing people who have created the potential for these coffee flavours which we appreciate so much. It was my first time in Kenya, but I have wanted to go for many years since I love the coffee of this country very much. My expactations were high but looking back they were more than fulfilled.
I learned a lot during the days in Kenya, but I will try to sum up some of the ways they work a bit different in Kenya (at least at the places I visited) than in other countries. One thing is that they have two ’rows’ of fermentation tanks (you can get a feeling of how the two rows are situated with one row lower than the other in the picture above - its the end of each row you can see). They move the coffee from one to another fermentation tank during the fermentation proces. The total fermentation time were between 36 and 50 hours. After the fermentation tanks they have soaking tanks, which they put the coffee in after washing if the drying tables are full. They flush it with clean water and can leave it there for 12-24 hours. They claim this does not affect the taste - but I wonder – it would for sure be interesting to cup the difference some time!
After finished washing (and eventual soaking) they take the coffee first to a ’skin-drying-table’ for a day or so and then they move it to the drying table where it will dry untill the humidty is below 11%. On the Picture above you can see the end of the concrete washing channel coming from the upper left corner. The drying tables next to this channel are sloping a bit down hill and are the ones for 'skin-drying'. In the background you can see a lot more drying tables which are where the coffee goes after skin-drying.
When the coffee is dry enough they put the coffee (in parchment) in jutebags. They then have two different warehouses at the mill. One open and one closed. First they put the coffee in the open warehouse (only with roof but no walls) to airate and then they put it in the closed warehouse after a while. They keep the coffee in the warehouse untill they think it is the best time to bring it to the dry mill and eventually the auction or when they have no more room.
In some of the ’open’ warehouses they have also build and arrangement to put the bags in so that they are liftet from the floor in order to get optimal ventilation.
I’m not an expert in ’drying’ but I know it is very important for quality with a good drying. All the steps they have here in the drying process should give good possibilities if used optimal I guess.
There are so many things you learn on a trip like this and it is impossible to get it all down now, but I know for sure I have have learned a lot and have to come back to Kenya soon again!
Before I end I have to thank Bridget, Kamau, Charles, Tim and Tom for making this trip this great - it was fantastic to be in Kenya with you guys!
I have brought samples of the best coffees I found in Kenya and we will cup them during the coming week and finish up things in order to buy the coffee directly. When things are ready I will get back with more info about the coffee we choose.
Asante sana Kenya!