Cooked berries, caramel, and lemon peel on the nose introduce an impeccably balanced cup profile with flavors of molasses, cherry cola, and a unique herbal note reminiscent of chamomile.
We are thrilled to have beautiful Kenyan coffees on the menu once again! Thanks to careful cherry selection and precisely executed processing, this AA screen size separation from the Kimandi wet mill offers a vibrant expression of Kirinyaga County.
The two most common sources of traceable coffees in Kenya, whether purchased at auction or via direct sale, are cooperatively managed wet mills (often referred to as “factories”), and privately owned estates. Passenger’s most recently released collection of Kenyan Reserve Lots includes beautiful coffees sourced from both types of sources. Our Kamavindi AA selection is an example of a coffee purchased from a family estate whereas the present Kimandi AA selection comes from a cooperative operated factory of the same name.
Kimandi AA is composed of coffees harvested from multiple family-owned farms that are located in close proximity to the Kimandi factory. The Kimandi wet mill is one of many factories managed by the Kabare Farmers’ Cooperative Society: a large collective organization in Kirinyaga County that counts over 6000 smallholder coffee farmers as active members. Other “sister factories” managed by Kabare F.C.S. include: Karinga, Konyu, Kathata, Karani, and Mukengeria, just to name a few.
In contrast to coffees produced on small family-owned estates in Kenya (where the coffee is potentially grown, harvested, and processed by the same producer, or small group of people), cooperative-produced lots generally reflect a larger-scale approach. During harvest (the main harvest period is October to December, with a “fly crop” occurring between May and July), individual farmer members of Kabare F.C.S. deliver their freshly harvested coffee cherries to the Kimandi factory where the coffee is sorted and weighed (payment is calculated by weight), before being blended with other local deliveries that have been received from their neighbors. After the coffee has been pulped, it undergoes approximately 24 hours of fermentation before being thoroughly washed in clean water. Before the newly processed “parchment” is transferred to raised beds for drying (usually for a period of approximately 14 days), meticulous care is taken to remove as many defective seeds as possible (floaters), and to grade the coffee by density in washing channels.
The “AA” in the name of this lot indicates that Passenger chose to purchase an AA screen size selection from Kimandi Factory this year. In Kenya, a “coffee lot” is made from a larger batch of coffee that is delivered to a dry mill from a cooperative factory or private estate on any given day. When a delivery arrives at the dry mill, it is analyzed (physically and sensorially), sorted (to remove defects), screened (separated by a sieve-like machine according to bean size), hulled (to remove the parchment layer), and ultimately assigned an outturn-number. Typically, beans screened into AA, AB, and PB outturns are sold as individual microlots. AAs are flat beans with screen size 18+. ABs are flat beans with screen sizes 16 and 17. These numbers (18, 17 and 16) refer to 64ths of an inch. PBs are peaberries: single, round beans that develop inside of a cherry, as opposed to the two beans that are typically found in a coffee cherry.