Owner: Cooperative 1000 members
Harvest method: Selective Hand Picking
Harvest: November – December
Varieties: Mostly SL28 and SL34 with a little bit of Ruiru 11 and Batian
Process: Washed. Dried on raised beds.
Altitude: 1.800 masl for the factory. Farmers between 1.600 – 2.000 masl
Roasted by Casper Engel Rasmussen at The Coffee Collective, Copenhagen.
More info on: http://coffeecollective.dk/shop/kieni/
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This Month’s Cause: Coffeekids
$1 from every envelope goes to a cause chosen by the roaster. This month it’s Coffeekids.
Coffee Kids provides training, mentoring, and financial support to young coffee farmers so that they can implement creative solutions to the challenges they face in the changing coffee industry. Climate change, generational shifts, migration, land pressures, inadequate access to financial services, and fluctuating coffee markets are barriers to young farmers’ success. They work in collaboration with all sectors of the supply chain to foster their entrepreneurial spirit in overcoming these barriers.
The Story, by Klaus Thomsen
We first tasted Kieni in 2009 (2008/09 crop) at a dry mill in central Kenya. Casper and Linus had spent a week there cupping samples and visiting farmers. In the final blind cupping of the favourites from previous rounds, the Kieni jumped out and we bought a small lot that proved equally impressive back in Denmark. The following year Casper returned with Klaus and things really took off. The board members were super interested in learning about what we do, and impressed when they saw the bags of coffee with their name on. Since then we’ve bought every year from Kieni and developed a strong relationship with them. Their quality continues to improve and for the third year in a row, they are one of the highest paid factories in all of Kenya.
Kieni is a cooperative of around 1.000 active members. Each member is typically a farmer and his family. Some of the members are also member in other coops. The members grow and pick coffee cherries and deliver to the Kieni coop wet mill, or factory as it’s called in Kenya. At the mill the coffee is inspected for ripeness. A crucial step for securing the quality, especially the sweetness. The approved coffee is then depulped and fermented in two rounds for up to 48 hours, with an intermediate wash about halfway through. The coffee is then washed and soaked in clean water before drying on raised tables.
Through our visits we’ve seen how much work Kieni puts into each step and how crucial for the quality the mill manager is. Last year Josphat Kariuki took over the responsibility of managing the Kieni mill. He had assistance from their marketing agent, Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters, in getting training for two weeks. And at the peak of the harvest Klaus also spend a week at Kieni, learning about what they do and discussing quality with Josphat and the board members. The result has been their best harvest to date, and especially one lot, is the best we’ve ever tasted from Kenya. We’re incredibly proud to share this lot with Barista Hustle this month.
We roast on a Loring Smart Roast 35 kg Kestrel. The green coffee is vacuum packed and stored in a cellar, which protects the quality the best after we receive it. This year we had Kieni shipping out really early which is a good thing for ensuring the quality. We were able to receive the container in Copenhagen already in beginning of April, which is two months before what we used to get.
Our general approach to roasting is to optimize roast profiles for each coffee depending on their natural characteristics. Over the years we’ve build a lot of knowledge about how to manipulate the roast profiles to get the results we’re after. For Kieni we really want to push for the aromas and the acidity to be alive. The great thing with this coffee is that it has so much sweetness too, that we can roast it quite light and it still feels balanced.
Our barista Mikaela Wallgren recently placed second in the World Brewers Cup in Dublin, Ireland. She used the Kieni just off the shelf. Our normal production roast, roasted 16 days prior to the competition, so it had degassed sufficiently. It was the only non-natural coffee in the competition and 4 of the other 5 finalist had Geishas.
The Winning Recipe, by Mikaela Wallgren
I chose to use Kalita wave as it’s my favourite brewing method! It has a great geometric shape: the flat bottom and 3 small holes create a uniform path for the water thought the coffee bed. It allows the entire bed of coffee extract evenly. And even extraction really results in higher sweetness.
My recipe is 15g coffee to 250g water. I start with 60 g water and a 30 sec bloom and continue pouring continues circles until 1:45. I’ve sieved off the fines (smallest particles of ground coffee) which lowered the bitterness.
I use RO water at 30ppm with low carbonate-ion content, which is what we use in the bar everyday. It enhances this coffee’s vibrant flavours.
The Other Recipe, by Matt Perger
I’ve been brewing this coffee daily for about a week now, and there is one variable above all else that is giving me great results. Time! This coffee needs plenty of time in contact with the water. If you haven’t got aggressively soft water like Mikaela above, you may struggle to get deliciousness with shorter brewing times.
Brew somewhere between 5:00-10:00. Not even kidding. Pretend it’s a cupping bowl and the result will be excellent. Don’t worry though – it’s almost impossible to over-extract this coffee.
James Hoffmann recently posted a video about super-long plunger brews. It’s absolutely ideal for this coffee. Give it a go!
If you want to chat about recipes, Kieni, Kenyan Coffee, Coffee Collective, or Mikaela’s routine, head to the comments section at the bottom of this page.
The Coffee Collective blog documents almost every visit they’ve made to producers, but you can start with their visit to Kieni last harvest: http://coffeecollective.dk/2016/01/kenya-origin-trip-november-2015/
Video (4 min) from their visit during harvest in 2014: https://vimeo.com/113115187
Coffee Collective also put pictures from each visit on Flickr:
2014 Jan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeecollective/sets/72157644599208989/
2014 Nov: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeecollective/sets/72157649590899231/
2015 Jan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeecollective/sets/72157649334986624/
2015 Nov: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeecollective/sets/72157661419190200/
2016 Jan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeecollective/sets/72157663736519269/