Update: Our first container of Kenyans have arrived in the UK and is available on the offer list
Kenyan coffees are important to us. We love both the big classic fruit profiles as well as the subtle, herbal-like Kenyans. And while it has taken a little more cupping work this year to find the coffees we love, we have been selective in only purchasing coffees that are tasting exceptional.
That being said, we wanted to clarify some talk going around the rumor mill in regards to Kenyans lacking quality this year. Good news is that it isn’t necessarily true – and while the prices may be higher, they are certainly worth it.
What Drove Up Prices This Year in Kenya
Every new season brings a different set of challenges in coffee producing. This year was no exception. And while there are many elements that play a role in pricing, we can look at three main causes for higher prices this year; weather, production and auction prices.
We are still seeing strange weather patterns after El Niño. It created unusually warm water in the Pacific that caused unseasonal, heavy rainfall in Kenya as well as its surrounding countries. This uncharacteristic rainfall delayed the flowering process for the coffee plants, disrupted the cherry maturation process, and disrupted the drying process as well.
As a result, we saw a 50% decrease in production in comparison to last year. However, it’s important to note that last year’s harvest was exceptionally high. If we look at the average year for Kenya, last year was down by a not-so-stark 20% in production volume.
And to top it off, the auction this year set the stage for unusually high prices. These high numbers set the expectations for farmers and what they should be selling their coffees for. For example, some of the highest prices AA’s (known as the most high quality sorted coffee green) hit around $15.00/kg ($6.80/lb) at auction – this is not taking into account post-processing costs such as: Grainpro or vacuum packing, PSS sample drawing, loading containers for shipment, the actual shipment costs and clearance upon arrivals.
This kind of extreme variations in pricing, although great when the farmer gets more money, and even greater when he or she is investing in better production, can also obscure the market and cause issues that can negatively affect farmers income and even the demand for coffee.
How We Aim to Keep Things as Affordable as Possible
In our efforts to get these coffees to you as affordably as possible, we have reduced our normal margin on these coffees and cut it by half. We believe great coffees are worth great prices, even when they push our business to uncomfortable places.
When to Expect Our Kenyans to Land
We are expecting our first container to arrive in early April and get you samples by mid to late April. Remember, you can always e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about all of our tasty Kenyans coming in.