Latest Posts

  1. Podcast Episode #25: The Global Trade/Burundi Discussion

    Podcast Episode #25: The Global Trade/Burundi Discussion

    Some very informative audio from last month's discussion

    Read More
  2. The Flores Factor

    The Flores Factor

    Crowd pleasing coffee from a promising origin.

    Read More
  3. Discussion: Burundi & Global Coffee Market Issues

    Discussion: Burundi & Global Coffee Market Issues

    Sign up for this informative talk about issues surrounding global coffee pricing and small holder farmers.

    Read More
  4. Video: Sample Roasting with an Aillio Bullet R1

    Video: Sample Roasting with an Aillio Bullet R1

    Read More
  5. Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    A few fairly low tech clips and some thoughts on coffee processing and coffee buying in Guatemala.

    Read More
  6. Video: Kenya Koffee Klips (& Kupping)

    Video: Kenya Koffee Klips (& Kupping)

    New video starring Tom, goats, farmers and coffee....in Kenya.

    Read More
  7. Video: Dry Process Coffee & Quakers

    Video: Dry Process Coffee & Quakers

    How we grade for the quality of our dry process coffees

    Read More
  8. Podcast Episode #24: Kafa in the Morning, Ethiopia

    Podcast Episode #24: Kafa in the Morning, Ethiopia

    Tom's thoughts and various experiences from his recent travels in Kafa, Ethiopia, near the town of Bonga.

    Read More
  9. Ethiopia - Road Dust and Deep Ruts

    Ethiopia - Road Dust and Deep Ruts

    A post from the road ... about our trip through southern and western Ethiopia coffee lands in late 2018.

    Read More
  10. Uganda Like This Coffee

    Uganda Like This Coffee

    Coffee from western Uganda has typically been low grade commercial quality. But potential is there...

    Read More
  11. Rwanda + Burundi Fundamentals

    Rwanda + Burundi Fundamentals

    Read More
  12. Sulawesi and the Sumatra Effect.

    Sulawesi and the Sumatra Effect.

    Some thoughts on Suluwesi and Indonesia in general while traveling there...

    Read More

Kenya Postcards

Kenya Postcards

Nov. 5, 2015

If you have received an order from us in the recent weeks, it probably included one of our Kenya postcards with a collage of Tom's great photos on the front and on the back, a brief history how Tom began buying Kenyan coffee along with an explanation of why we don't use auction numbers as coffee titles anymore.


Here's the front.


...and the back. Don't squint trying to read it, the exact text is below this photo.

 

"Kenyas have always been important coffees for us at Sweet Maria's. It is one of the first origins I sold with specific lot designations. If you looked at an SM offer list of 10 years ago you would see “Kenya AA Auction Lot 293 -Gicherori” or “Kenya AA Auction Lot 662 –Mbaranga.” I don't know why I put the actual lot number, it just sounded cool.


That was just about the time I started traveling to Africa to select our coffees in person, travelling to the factories (what they call a wet-processing mill in Kenya) and started to really understand the entire Kenya coffee system.


These days, just putting up an auction number seems more than quaint. It's completely obsolete. We don't buy Kenya coffees from brokers anymore, or even from the Kenya auction. We buy them from a direct-selection process, where I make connections through exporters and co-ops. It's not for bragging rights or "direct trade" branding; it's necessary. In a Kenya coffee system that has been turned on its head by political infighting, this is how you find the exact qualities of coffees you are looking for.


We bring in exponentially more coffee than compared to 10 years ago, using 3 different sourcing channels. The reason to focus on Kenya is so simple: the coffee can be that good, it demands it.


We just landed another container of small lots from Nyeri district, which means we have one of the broadest selections of Kenya coffees in our history, with a huge range of flavor profiles. We have the bright citrusy types, those with deep berry and black currant flavor and more balanced lots with sweet milk chocolate. It's prime time for Kenya coffee, with such a deep set to choose from.
" - t.o.

 

By the way, we have an excellent selection of Kenya coffees right now including a Kenya Sample Set (a 4-pack of high-scoring Kenyan coffees) that features new Kenyans as of 2 weeks ago.