Over the past few years, the Kenyan government has been loosening its grip on coffee exportation, and farmers are now able to make better returns through direct trade agreements. As a result, Kenyan cup quality is continuing to improve year after year. The Kenya Kiangoi is a great example of this pioneering movement.
The Kirinyaga district, where this coffee hails from, is renowned for its production of amazing coffees. Volcanic soils, high altitude, and ample rainfall make for the optimum growing conditions. Similarly, washing and drying processes, typical of the region, are consistent and reliable. The population in this area is predominantly made up of the Kikuyu people, where the population density is around 2000 persons per sq km. These small-scale farmers are organized into well-managed central pulperies (also called factories), where they produce around 362 tons of cherry per year.
Once picked, the cherries are soaked, washed, pulped and placed in a series of fermentation tanks for up to 36 hours with fresh river water from the near by Kambuku River and dried on raised beds. This gives the coffee a distinctive high acidity and fruit flavor. The coffee is then dried for five to ten days, before being transferred to the Kenya Kiangoi Factory, where it is rested and let to breathe fully. It is then sold to coffee brokers and roasters outside of Kenya’s auction system.
Kenya Kiangoi Factory is part of the Rungeto farmer’s co-op society. The factory came to exist when the Ngiriama co-op’s assets were liquidated.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Kiangoi, from Honest Coffee Roasters in Franklin, Tennessee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Kirinyaga, Kenya
farm: Kenya Kiangoi Factory
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Rung’eto Cooperative
elevation: 1700 – 2000 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Kenya Kiangoi is absolutely delightful. Perfumed and lively with fragrances of florals, lavender, bergamot, black tea, and citrus with the sweetness of praline, vanilla, and honey.
As I take my first few sips of the cup, my taste buds are greeted by a coffee with an intensely flavorful profile. This nicely structured medium-bodied coffee features a smooth, buttery mouthfeel and a bracing, bright citric acidity. There’s a bit of a honeyed, molasses-like sweetness, but there is much more of a presence of dynamic fruit flavors. Juicy stone fruit, peach, apricot, strawberry, black currant, grapefruit, apple, red plum, and lime flood over my palate before the cup finishes with floral nuances and a slightly drying Earl Grey tea-like finish.
What a stellar coffee this was. Honest Coffee Roasters’s Kenya Kiangoi was every bit the elegant, dynamic, fun, and lively coffee you want a Kenyan coffee to be.
Brimming with flavor, dancing on the palate with bright, fruity effervescence, and concluding with a flourish of floral, tea-like aromatics, the Kenya Kiangoi is not one to be missed.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.