ALTITUDE:1600 to 1850 meters above sea level
ARABICA VARIETALS: Batian, Ruiru 11, SL28, SL34
PROCESSING: Fully washed
FARMERS: Various Small landholders owning 250 to 350 trees on average
HARVEST MONTHS: May – July (early crop)
PROCUDER: Kahawa Bora Millers operated by Kenyacof
In the cup: Baking spices, black tea, rich and sweet. Citrus acidity combines with dark chocolate, grape, grapefruit, hazelnut and silky stone fruit.
The Duma blend, named for the Swahili word for Cheetah, marries an understanding of roasters’ and farmers’ needs to produce a consistent, 80+ SCA cup blend that’s available in larger volumes.
About This Coffee by Sucafina:
Duma is sourced from Kenya’s Central Province. It’s a special blend of ABC size grades grown by networks of small holder producers mainly surrounding the slopes of Mount Kenya and throughout the Aberdare mountain range.
For farmers, the high quality lots they sell at the auction are only a small portion of their total production. While they may make more money when these higher quality lots are sold at auction, the small size of such lots means that they still depend on selling the rest of their harvest at reasonable prices.
On the roasting side, the auction system is extremely successful at finding and highlighting those outstanding microlots, but, except for those lots coming from large estates, these microlots are, well, micro.
Coffees from these areas are grown in rich volcanic sandy soils at high altitudes, ranging from 1,600-1,850 meters above sea level. Flowering takes place between March and April with the harvest spread between November and January. Wet mills have access to fresh, high-altitude streams, with which they produce immaculately washed coffees.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Small scale farmers are organized into well-managed central wet mills, known as “Coffee Factories”. These factories generally function as cooperatives.
Following selective handpicking, farmers delivery their cherry to wet mills. At intake, cherry is hand sorted to remove any damaged or underripe cherry before pulping. After pulping, coffee is fermented for 12 to 16 hours and then washed in fresh stream water. Wet parchment is dried on raised beds, where it is turned frequently to ensure even drying. Workers also sort through drying parchment to remove any damaged beans.
Kenyan coffee usually goes through strict screen grading where coffee is separated according to screen size. This blend, created by our sister company in Kenya, marries together the best of all worlds.
Kahawa Bora Millers is operated by Sucafina’s sister company, Kenyacof/Sucafina Kenya. The mill opened in July 2018 in Thika, Central Kenya and finances, supports and mills a wide range of coffee qualities. The focus of the mill is to be a service provider offering micro-milling for small estates and individual growers across Kenya.
Kahawa Bora recognizes the importance of cultivating supportive relationships with coffee farmers and roasters, alike. The mill provides crucial services for the farmers and cooperatives with whom they work. They provide key agricultural extension work, helping farmers improve the health of their crops, increase productivity and ensure the best possible quality. They also support innovation in the small estate sector.
Kahawa Bora also, more generally, lends their own expertise in quality processing to their clients, providing feedback and contributing to their knowledge of processing methods and evolving market demand.
Most small estate owners do not typically produce enough coffee to fill 50 bags with parchment beans, the smallest quantity mills will generally process. Before Kahawa Bora was established, mills and marketing agents would have to blend smaller lots from multiple estates before bringing it to the mill. This meant that coffee from small estates was often anonymized, which could also limit payment for recognition or quality.
Before operating their own mill, Sucifina’s sister company solved this problem by blending lots from approximately 4-8 producers living in the same area —such as with our Slopes of 8 coffees. This method also allowed producers to maintain the identity behind their coffee and gave them collective control over price expectations. Kahawa Bora’s microlot program is one more option that producers can choose along this vein.
With the purchase of the Kahawa Bora mill, it is now even easier to keep traceability intact all the way from the individual farmer who grew the lot through to the roaster. Thanks to the mill, small estate owners can receive larger payouts for to their high-quality production and link their name to their coffees for consumers to see.
For farmers, having their name and life story connected to their coffee, which is then purchased and seen by the end user, can bring many benefits. It means that they can nurture long-term relationships with roasters and increase the value of their product. For roasters, connecting farmers’ stories to the coffees they grew can create a stronger customer interest for specific coffees, added value and demand, and help finance successful long-term relationships with farmers.
Coffee in Kenya
Though coffee growing had a relatively late start in Kenya, the industry has gained and maintained a impressive reputation. Since the start of production, Kenyan coffee has been recognized for its high-quality, meticulous preparation and exquisite flavors. Our in-country sister company, Kenyacof/Sucafina Kenya, works with farmers across the country to ensure these exceptional coffees gain the accolades they deserve.
Today, more than 600,000 smallholders farming fewer than 5 acres compose 99% of the coffee farming population of Kenya. Their farms cover more than 75% of total coffee growing land and produce nearly 70% of the country’s coffee. These farmers are organized into hundreds of Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS), all of which operate at least one factory. The remainder of annual production is grown and processed by small, medium and large land estates. Most of the larger estates have their own washing stations.
Most Kenyan coffees are fully washed and dried on raised beds. The country still upholds its reputation for high quality and attention to detail at its many washing stations. The best factories employ stringent sorting practices at cherry intake, and many of them have had the same management staff in place for years.
(Info courtesy of Sucafina)