About This Coffee
Sangalai is part of our Sucafina Originals range, our line of consistent and affordable blends sourced from our vertically-integrated supply chain.
Sangalai is the word for bull elephant in Samburu, a language indigenous to Northern Kenya. Gentle and intelligent. Forceful and strong. In the savannah, Sangalai reigns. The acme of any Kenyan safari is the chance to see the Sangalai in person.
Our Sangalai is also very wise and strong. Vertical-integration and whole-harvest sourcing enable us to source Sangalai at an accessible price that supports roaster success and producer resilience. Selected by QC teams at our sister company in Kenya, this 85+ blend has a consistently high-quality Kenyan profile of juicy berries, great body and complex acidity that is positively irresistible.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Farmers selectively handpick ripe cherry and deliver it to washing stations near them. Some producers process cherry on their own farms. Cherry is carefully sorted at intake where under- and over-ripes, along with any foreign matter, are removed.
Once sorted, ripe, red cherry is added straight to the hopper and pulped using either a disk pulper or, if it's on the farmer’s own equipment, a small drum pulper. Coffee is fermented and then washed in clean water to remove any remaining mucilage.
Wet parchment is sorted and any damaged beans that remain are removed. Then, parchment is moved to raised beds to finish drying. Here, it is turned regularly to ensure even drying and covered at the hottest part of the day and overnight to prevent cracking and/or condensation. Workers will also regularly inspect drying parchment and remove any damaged beans. Drying time is usually around two weeks, depending on the weather at the time.
Once dry, parchment is delivered to Kahawa Bora Millers, one of our Sister Companies in Kenya. The mill has the capacity to mill smaller lots separately to help preserve quality and traceability.
Making Sangalai Possible
Our Sucafina branded lots combine excellent quality and accessible prices, all made possible by our sister company, Sucafina Kenya. In addition to our long-term relationships with producers and efficient milling infrastructure, "it's really the quality team’s expertise that makes these blends possible," says Mette-Marie “Mie” Hansen, Managing Director of Sucafina Kenya. "It takes a lot of skill to source and combine the best lots to create blends that offer good value for the quality-oriented roaster."
Kenyan coffees are classified by size. AA beans are the largest size. AA grade coffees are those that are 17/18.5 screen size, meaning that they are larger than 7.2 millimeters.
Sucafina in 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, our 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.