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Kenya Rungeto Peaberry

STORY

In December of ‘19 we visited our friends at NKG mills just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Christophe from NKG has been very kind to us through the seasons, during the harvest he drove us up to visit a few stations that we had purchased from in the past. While driving through Kirinyaga county, we stopped to visit the Kii factory of the Rungeto Farmers Cooperative Society. The Kii factory sits on a vibrant red dirt road just outside the Githure, where trucks come in full of cherry to be dropped into a large tank to be processed. Kii is under careful management, where they uphold strict quality standards from cherry to drying. After cherries are dropped off, they’re sorted and depulped. The parchment ferments in dry tanks overnight. Once it’s been fermented, the parchment is passed through clean tiled channels, where it is washed of the last mucilage before being transferred to a drying bed. Once the coffee is transferred to the drying beds, it is labeled and turned often to ensure even drying. At the time of our visit, the Kii factory drying beds were nearly completely full. Kii operating at maximum capacity is due to the growing membership of the Rungeto FCS. Between the three factories, the coop has over four thousand members, and processes nearly nine thousand bags of coffee throughout the harvest. Once the harvest was complete, we returned to Kenya and cupped some of the Rungeto production at NKG. We zeroed in on the cupping table on this peaberry lot, which is a blend of the three factories' top-quality peaberries. (Read more on peaberries below.)


KENYA PROCESS

In the Kenya process, first, the cherries are sorted, and under-ripe/overripe cherries are removed. Once the sorting is finished, the coffee is then depulped. This is done by squeezing the cherry through a screen and removing the fruit and skin from the bean. The coffee is then left to ferment in white ceramic tiled tanks for 24 hours. Next, the coffee is stirred for a short amount of time and left to ferment for another 24 hours. After two days of dry fermentation, the coffee is washed with fresh water, removing the sticky mucilage attached to the beans that are loosened by bacteria during the fermentation. It’s then soaked in water to ferment overnight slightly. The coffee goes through sorting and density channels, which separates the lots, and then it is taken to raised beds to dry. Once it reaches 11.5-12% moisture content, the coffee is brought to conditioning bins to rest until it goes to the dry mill.

Once a coffee has been processed, dried, and then milled, it goes to a sorter that separates the beans by specific characteristics, mainly size. Coffee goes into a machine that vibrates, sending beans through different screens with different-sized holes and sorts the coffee based on size and density. This results in a more uniform coffee and cup profile. Then the coffees are auctioned based on the grade (size & density) they have.

AA (screen size 17 & 18)
The largest and most celebrated grade of Kenyan coffee. Usually the highest priced coffee on the auction from each outturn and factory. AA is is the most common grade we buy and what we normally expect from an outstanding Kenya cup.

AB (screen size 15 & 16)
This grade represents about 30% of Kenya production. While AB is usually considered lower quality than AA, we find that to not be accurate in the cup. Over the years of cupping, we have consistently found incredible AB’s that actually cup better than their more prestigious AA relatives, enforcing the idea that everything must be cupped and not have its value determined based on classification or reputation.

PB (Peaberry)
Peaberries represents about 10% of Kenya production. They are a result of a coffee cherry only producing one bean instead of two. Technically they are fused together during early stages and form one round bean instead of two half spheres. We tend to notice more fermentation tasting notes here. Winey, syrupy, and mouth coating are some of the attributes that we usually notice in the cup.

OTHER SIZES
E (large Peaberries & large chipped beans)
C (screen size 14 & 15)
TT (falls through 14)
T (small or broken pieces of beans)


SUGGESTED USE

Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part). 


FILTER – Coming Soon!

ESPRESSO – Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars

TRANSPARENCY

Kenya Rungeto PB

This is a Relationship Coffee that we purchased through our friends at NKG Mills Tropical in Nairobi. This is a direct-sale coffee purchased through NKG from the Rungeto FCS. We paid $4.17 per pound FOB to Tropical, and cupped this lot at an 86.75. Once stateside, this 30 bag lot landed at $4.37 per pound once we paid the import fees to InterAmerican Coffee.

 

- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.01/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.

 

We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available. 

- Jon

 

RELATIONSHIP COFFEE

Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.

 

In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.

 

GOALS

  • We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.

  • We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.

  • We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.

  • We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.

  • We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.

  • We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage up front upon contracting. 

  • We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.

  • We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.

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