Sweet mandarin, cane sugar and lemon blossom florals, with a silky body and tea-like finish. Delicate and distinct.
My last trip to Kenya was back in 2014, with Andrew Kelly of Small Batch, and before then with Tim Wendelboe during my stint with him. It's the origin I had the strongest connection with, and for many years the Kenyan cup profile was my favourite. It still ranks incredibly high, and remains the origin I get most excited by - Kenyan's typically have such vibrant, exciting profiles, so it's hard not be bushy-tailed when cupping harvest. Thankfully, I get to live through Aislinn and the team at Melbourne Coffee Merchants, and so here we have Stella's first of three Kenyan lots.
From Aislinn at MCM: Dagitu is a small coffee estate located in Kiambu County, in Kenya’s central highlands. The estate is owned by 69 year old Danson Wanyutu Karugouto and his wife, Josephine. Dagitu is a small piece of land in a larger family-owned estate named Docha, which Danson and his siblings inherited from their parents. Danson and Josephine manage both shambas (Swahili for ‘farm’) and the family’s prosperous poultry farm, which produces eggs that are sold across the region. He has lived his entire life on the estate and says he “has had the farm from birth”.
The entire estate – which is about 30 acres large – sits in the foothills of the extinct volcano, Mt Kenya, in an area defined by its bright red, nutrient-rich, volcanic soil and cool climate. Dagitu is Danson’s passion project; five acres of land where he can grow and produce coffee specifically for the specialty market. The shamba is beautifully maintained and intercropped with banana, avocado and macadamia trees to provide shade, and potatoes, squash and cassava to provide ground cover. The chickens provide excellent manure for the coffee trees, as well as coffee pulp that has been composted after processing. The geographical conditions of the region are also ideal for exceptional coffee production and contribute to the outstanding quality of this lot.The varieties on the farm are SL-28 and SL-34, which were planted by Danson’s father between 1955 and 1972. The trees have been continuously regenerated since that time, using a stumping technique where new stalks are allowed to grow from the stump to replace older stalks, which are then cut back when the new stalks reach full maturation. In addition to planting the farm, Danson’s father also built a small wet mill – or factory, as they are called in Kenya – on his land, which has the capacity to process up to 20,000kg of fresh cherry a year. This factory enables Danson and his family to process and dry their coffee independently of a Farmers’ Cooperative Society.
Dagitu & Sucastainability
Since 2017, Dagitu has received support from Sucastainability—a marketing agent that is on the ground directly helping Danson with training, education and support, and to secure the very best prices for his milled coffee.Unlike other agents in Kenya, Sucastainability has a particular focus on working with small-holder, independent farmers like Danson, that have the infrastructure to process coffee on their own estates, but whose lot volumes are too small to sell at auction. Though this can be challenging (the smaller lot sizes are more expensive to mill and market), it is worthwhile because it provides more traceability and transparency and ensures that premiums paid for the coffee are given directly back to the producer.
Responsibly sourced by the excellent team at Melbourne Coffee Merchants.
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