I struggled finding a good lot from Kapsokisio this year. I tasted almost every lot / outturn they sendt to the exporter and auction and unfortunately there were a lot of samples with defects such as over ferment (vinegary/rotten taste) and phenol (a kind of mouldy and medicinal taste) . This was due to a lot of rain during harvest and I also believe they are having capacity problems as a lot of farmers are delivering cherries to the wet mill at the same time and therefore drying can be an issue. Nevertheless, among the three best tasting lots there were one that stood out from the rest and I was very happy to be able to buy coffee from this wet mill located at Mt. Elgon at the boarder of Uganda once again. About 90% of the farmers who deliver cherries to Kapsokisio grow the variety named K7, and only about 10% of the coffee is SL28 and SL34 varieties . This makes a unique coffee from Kenya with a lot more baked fruit character and a green apple-like and tart acidity.
Baked stone fruit, apples & raspberries
Several smallholders farmers
Mt. Elgon, Kenya
1800 – 2000 masl under some shade trees
K7, SL28 & SL34
The coffee is grown and hand picked by the cooperative members that are all smallholder farmers. After picking the coffee with their family members and neighbours they deliver and sell the coffee cherries to the wet mill where the good coffee cherries are separated from the inferior ones by hand sorting before the coffee gets processed. Then the cherries are de-pulped by using a 4 disc Aagard disc pulper. The parchment coffee is dry fermented for 24 to 48 hours and rinsed with clean water mid way through fermentation. Then the parchment is washed and graded before it is dried on African elevated drying tables, partly covered with shade nets.
In January 2012 we decided to go on a trip to the west part of Kenya, to Eldoret and the surrounding mountains near the boarder of Uganda. Because of the regions difficult social situation and tribal rivalry this is an area that has been known for poor quality coffee for quite a while. The situation is more calm now and farmers are getting back to coffee and therefor the quality has been improving.
We were actually some of the first coffee buyers to ever visit Kapsokisio, a cooperative which is located on top of Mt. Elgon. This area is very different from central Kenya, where a lot of the best cooperatives are located. The climate is dryer, the soil is black and sandy and the landscape is more mountainous. The farmers also have more land (about 2 hectares) to work with, compared to the smallholder farmers in central Kenya. They grow a lot of the SL28 and SL34 cultivars and some farmers are still growing the K7 cultivar which is not common in Central-Kenya.
Kapsokisio was formed in 1956 and has about 800-1000 active members. The cooperative only has one washing station (wet mill) where all the coffees are processed and dried. The mill is quite old, but the cooperative management are working on improving the infrastructure of the mill and building additional washing stations.
We really like the characteristic cup profile of this coffee which is very different from the central Kenyan profiles. Unfortunately the cooperative has been struggling with drying capacity during the peak of the harvest, which is when the best coffees are processed. Therefore we decided to invest in building new drying tables at the wet mill in order to increase the drying capacity at the factory. We managed to raise about $10 000 USD from our customers during our 6th and 7th anniversary that was donated to Kapsokisio in order to have new drying beds built.