hibiscus – light tobacco – soft strawberry finish – heavy, elegant body – soft, berry acidity
R225.00 – R810.00
Origin Nakuru County, Rift Valley Region
Altitude 1,830-2,200 masl
Varietal SL28, SL34
Processing fully washed and dried on raised tables
Farm Size 12Ha
Flavours hibiscus, red currant, light tobacco, soft strawberry finish
Body heavy, elegant
Acidity soft, berry
Suggested Brewing versatile, especially siphon, pourover, espresso
Our single origin coffees are all packed into 250g bags straight from the roaster. For optimal freshness, if you select 1kg of a single-origin coffee, it will be shipped as 4x250g bags.
Our blends and decaf are packed into both 250g and 1kg bags.
Nicola Estate is located in Nakuru county, in the Rift Valley region about 130km from Nairobi. The farm has a total size of 12 Ha.
The high altitudes of 1,830 to 2,200 meters above sea level, and the fertile, deep and well-drained volcanic soils are perfect to produce sweet, dense coffee cherries. Frequent rainfall, of between 900-1,100mm annually, causes almost continuous flowering, which results in two coffee harvesting seasons. The period of highest rainfall determines the main harvesting period (May-July), while the period of least rainfall determines the second harvest season (Oct-Dec).
Cherry is selectively handpicked and processed. It is then pulped and the coffee is fermented in tanks or bags. Following fermentation, the parchment is washed in clean water and put on raised beds to sun dry. The parchment is raked frequently to ensure even drying.
PLACE IN WORLD PRODUCTION: #18
AVERAGE ANNUAL PRODUCTION: 800,000 (in 60kg bags)
COMMON ARABICA VARIETIES: SL28, SL34, K7, Ruiru 11, Batian, Kent
KEY REGIONS: Central Kenya: Nyeri, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Kiambu | Eastern Kenya: Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Machakos | Coast: Taita Taveta | Western Kenya: Bungoma, Kakamega | Rift Valley: Nakuru, Kericho, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Baringo | Nyanza region: Kisii, Nyamira
Despite sharing over 865 kilometres of border with Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, coffee had to circumnavigate the world before it set roots in Kenya. While the earliest credible reports place coffee in Ethiopia around 850 C.E., coffee was not first planted in Kenya until 1893 when French missionaries planted trees in Bura in the Taita Hills.
During colonial times, large, private estates dominated the industry. The Nairobi Coffee Board and Nairobi Coffee Exchange were established in the 1930s to assist with regulating coffee production and marketing and to build demand for Kenya’s high quality coffee. Unfortunately, while the laws put in place did not explicitly state that indigenous people could not grow coffee, large estate owners made it functionally impossible for indigenous farmers to attain coffee growing licenses until the 1950s. These laws protected the interests of the large landowners. Not only could more cultivation drive down the price of Kenyan coffee, but large farmers feared that if smallholder and indigenous farmers had their own coffee farms to tend, they would not work as paid laborers on settlers’ farms.
Since the start of production, Kenyan coffee has been recognized for its high-quality, meticulous preparation and exquisite and unique flavours.
One of the key drivers of this, is the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, centered on a weekly auction since before independence. The auction also created a pricing system that is designed to reward better quality with better prices. Today, the auctions are widely recognized as the most-transparent mechanism for the price-discovery of fine green coffees and is considered one of the finest auction systems in the world. It even served as an inspiration for the Cup of Excellence auctions. Since 2006, coffee growers can also sell directly to international buyers. The opening of milling operations to the private sector also substantially improved transparency, the share of the sales revenue getting to farmers, and dramatically reduced the delays in the farmers getting the net proceeds from the sale of their coffee.
(on Joel’s trip to Kenya in 2007, he was hosted by Phillip Valentine, whose grandparents started the Nairobi Coffee Exchange in a small office with one typewriter! Head Roaster Jorge has also done a more recent trip to Nairobi)
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 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.