The vast majority of Kenyan coffee is sold through the government-run Nairobi coffee auction. It is often difficult to get hold of additional information about specific lots, but the owner at Kitamaiyu was kind enough to provide the following.
The Kitamaiyu Coffee Estate is a family-owned farm situated outside Ruiru Town, just north of Nairobi, in an area of Kenya ideally suited to coffee production. It is located directly opposite The National Coffee Research Station, with which it shares a common river boundary. The estate has 800 acres of land devoted to coffee and is capable of producing 800 tons per year, although the 2008 yield is expected to be substantially lower due to an aggressive rehabilitation programme currently underway.
Kitamaiyu Estate has its own processing factory and often plays host to Kenyan coffee factory managers attending coffee courses at the nearby Coffee Research Station. The estate also intends to develop a full coffee milling facility.
Kitamaiyu pioneered the "no spraying" campaign in Kenya almost 10 years ago and does not use any pesticides or fungicides on its crop. It has reported good recent yields and expects that these will improve further after its entrance into a long manure purchasing programme with Farmers Choice, the largest pig producers in Kenya.
With stocks of the Gethumbwini gone and the Kariga nearly gone we turned to new crop samples to find a replacement. The new crops of these two favourites were just a little too green (in need of some rest) and we didn't feel they were quite ready to add to the range just yet. After all, those who were drinking the Gethumwini and Kariga over the past few months will know they were both at their very best, even better in fact than when they first arrived.
So we searched the available alternative Kenyans and conducted a blind cupping table, which is the best way of comparing the various coffees. Without any doubt, the Kitamaiyu was the stand out and stand up offering.
In the cup expect melted butter with a real creaminess and viscosity that really doesn't get away from the butter feeling all the way through. A delightful french press and a Kenyan that I can actually recommend for the espresso, challenging but enjoyable. Only around for a short period, this one will be gone as quickly as it came.