Krampus - An "Unfriendly" Onyx Holiday Origin
In the central mountains of Kenya lies Murang’a county where Ndiara is located. Ndiara is a factory (washing station) that serves the Kiru Farmers Cooperative. They wash about 400 different farms per year and produce some of the best coffees in Kenya. We purchased this auctioned coffee at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. We usually would roast this coffee pretty light. But while cupping it, we noticed this incredible cinnamon/allspice note. So we decided to take this darker than we normally would, and we were excited by an overwhelming clove note that developed from caramelization. This coffee was extremely high in acidity to start with, and even though we take this coffee on a long roast curve, dampening the acidity, the citric & phosphoric acids are still present in the cup and pair nicely with darker overtones of vanilla, plum, and chocolate. This is a great dessert coffee and also is a unique flavor profile that we ordinarily do not offer.
For a refresher on the myth of Krampus check out this documentary.
Brew this coffee using any filter method. Remember if you’re taking this home to your parents or in-laws follow the “good brewing” rules with their mystery coffee maker. Take the coffee pot and wash the inside extremely well, then remove the brew basket and do the same. Chances are it’s full of mold or gross coffee oil build up. Make sure to rinse the filter and grind fresh. Use a coffee-to-water ratio between 1:16 and 1:18 grams, but chances are you probably did not bring a scale. So use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water. Ignore the markings on the coffee maker (assuming they are still there). Look with disdain upon the old brewer as it struggles to extract. Do not fear for your brew though, this coffee is legit and will overcome the Mr. Coffee maker from 1996 bought at Bed Bath and Beyond (when they were just Bath and Beyond). Hand the mug of delicious coffee to your father-in-law knowing that you have impressed him and once again proven why you were the perfect partner for their child.
We worked with Dormans Coffee to help bid on this coffee for us at the NCE. We paid $5.19/lb and cupped it at an 89. We happily contracted eight 67-kilo bags. While in Nairobi we happened to run into our friend Joe (Cafe Imports Australia), and he was generous enough to help us import this into the United States. Cafe Imports saved us a lot of paperwork, time, and stress by throwing our coffee on containers they already had coming to the US. Tip your cup to them as well when you're sipping this beauty.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.43/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.63/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.
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.
- 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 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.