ProducerAguthi Farmers Co-operative Society. Thageini Mill
Cup ProfileRhubarb Jam, Sherbet, Dark Chocolate
PreparationWashed and soaked
TerroirSmall holdings in the area around Thageini
On the cupping table we see a beautifully structured sweet citric spike that we can only describe as lemon sherbet, amplified by bright and complex rhubarb compote, on a backdrop of balanced dark chocolate. We love the real milkyness in the mouthfeel. This is the single most exciting Kenya we have tasted from this year’s crop, so we couldn’t resist buying some vacuum packed blocks of this tantalising coffee.
It’s no secret that we love Kenyan coffee. The lot from Gakayuini, our pick from last year’s harvest, was a joy to drink and also a tough act to follow, bursting with bright acidity and juicy currants. That coffee became our benchmark and we were determined that our selection from this year’s harvest should exceed the expectations set by its predecessor. Having cupped a variety offerings from a number various regions from wet mills associated with a number of farmer co-operatives as well as some estate coffees throughout the season we came across some great lots. Granted, many of them were excellent. Very nice. Delicious. Remember these were all high-scoring in the high 80s and low 90s, sourced from some of the best-known producers in Kenya. Yet they all had one thing in common: they couldn’t match the expectations set by our sensory memories of our benchmark.
Finally, on Nordic Approach’s last container of Kenyans to arrive in Europe from this season we found this beauty from Thageini. 2017 was the first year Nordic sourced coffee from Thageini, a factory located in the Tetu district within Nyeri in central Kenya. It was a challenging year for the country’s production due to strange weather patterns caused by El Niño leading to unseasonal, heavy rainfalls. Then the coffee trees’ flowering process was delayed and the cherry maturity was disrupted, making that year’s total production drop by 20% in volume in comparison to the previous harvest.
The weather variation meant that Nordic had to cup more coffees than usual to find the ones they – and us – love, but they selected some truly exceptional beans (it is still Kenya after all). If the price for this coffee seems too much, consider this: the prices have increased in Kenyan auctions due to production losses and Nordic deciding to cut their margins by half in order to keep their product affordable. As the Kenyan market makes it harder to build long term relationships with producers it might be a while until we read Thageini’s name on Nordic’s offer list once again, so make sure you try some!