Kenyan coffee is rated best in the world for its bold and balanced flavors, grapefruit citrus taste, and wonderful aromas. It’s one of the most sought after coffees in the specialty markets of Europe, the United States, Japan, and Korea, where it’s imported in small batches. But why does Kenyan coffee score so high compared to other coffees?
Why is it that professionals in the industry pay top dollar for Kenya’s coffee? Like most luxury goods, it comes down to meticulous attention to detail. Kenyan small scale coffee farmers take care of each coffee tree the way Kobe beef farmers take care of their steers.
At Njoga farms, and the farms around us, we know each tree. We know its origin, when it was planted, when it was last pruned, when it last produced a good crop or a great crop. Most importantly, our trees are all natural. We do not mess with varietals, or tree genetics labs, crop cycles, or anything of that sort.
Each berry ripens on the tree and is picked by hand, sorted by hand, and water processed in a manual process that has been handed down from generation to generation. Wet mill managers get their skills from apprenticeship. There is no school to go to -- you learn from the ones who have done it before and fetched top prices on the Nairobi exchange.
Most growing countries try to emulate Kenyan coffee’s standard coffee bean grading system which spans the entire growing season. At the end of the grading system, each bean size has one of three standards attached to it based on batch and cup score. The standard called Fair Average Quality (FAQ) grades each batch based on the cup score: Plus, no designation, or Minus.
Plus means the cup is scoring higher than the average cup, which in SCAA standards would be a score of 86+. FAQ means it’s an average cup and Minus is anything scoring FAQ of SCAA standard 82 or below. The farming and processing techniques have been honed to shoot for FAQ or higher across the industry.
This coffee then has to be handed over to the coffee masters of the West. To get a good Kenyan coffee that helps you appreciate the product like the professionals, the process from the farmer to your cup has to be meticulous. From the sorting to roasting to the pour or espresso, every single person on the supply chain has to know what he is doing and be a master of his craft.
For Njoga coffee, these two worlds come together in our partnership with Global Coffee Trading. Their team of roast masters, SCAA Q graders and SCAA-certified baristas that cup every batch ensure that the farmers’ painstaking efforts are not lost in the roasting and packaging process.
Kenyan coffee can be enjoyed purely for its exquisite flavors and tastes or with many pastries to accompany the coffee, but it can also be useful for an addition to stews, soups, or BBQ recipes because of its unique bold flavor and citrus undertones.
Therefore, when we hand you a bag of Njoga coffee from Kenya, the craft is in your hands, it’s upon you to serve it per instructions on the bag, and believe you me, you will appreciate every step the bean has taken to get to you, including the price you paid for it.