About This Coffee
This AB lot is blend from various washing stations throughout Western and Central Kenya. The coffees are specially selected, milled and prepared for export at Kahawa Bora mill in Thika, Kenya. Imara means balanced and reliable in Swahili, which perfectly describes this great value coffee.
Our Imara blend is composed primarily of SL28, SL32 and Ruiru 11 from small estates and cooperatives throughout Western and Central Kenya. These farms lie in the highlands at 1,300 to 1,900 meters above sea level and benefit from Kenya’s renowned coffee climate and growing conditions.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
All coffees contributed to Imara are fully washed, following Kenya’s very high standards with regards to postharvest practices. Coffees are selectively hand harvested and then sorted to remove any underripe, overripe or damaged coffees. They are then pulped and fermented for 12-24 hours on average, depending on the local climate. They are then fully washed, and graded by density before being delivered to dry on raised African beds. Some lots contributing to this blend have been soaked in cold, fresh water before drying, as well.
Coffees are usually rested in conditioning bins after drying in order to stabilize humidity. They will then be delivered to Kahawa Bora Mill in Thika for dry milling, grading and preparation for export.
Kenyan coffees are classified by size. AB beans are those that are between screen size 15 and 18 meaning that beans are between 6 and 7 millimeters in size.
Sucafina in Kenya
Kahawa Bora Millers is operated by our sister company, Kenyacof/Sucafina Kenya. The mill opened in July 2018 in Thika, Central Kenya and finances, supports and mills a wide range of coffee qualities. The focus of the mill is to be a service provider offering micro-milling for small estates and individual growers across 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.