Some people have been asking me what makes the Kapsokisio coffee taste different from the Central-Kenyan coffees. The answer is that it comes from a different region with different growing conditions where they grow different cultivars. Kapsokisio is a cooperative located at Mt. Elgon in West-Kenya, bordering Uganda. The members of Kapsokisio mainly grow the K7 variety (mixed with some SL28.) These were traditionally planted in the higher altitude areas like in Mt. Elgon. The Kapsokisio coffee is therefore quite unique with a more sweet flavour profile compared with coffees from Central-Kenya. Look for notes of cooked fruit and a hint of baking spices paired with a tart green apple acidity.
Green apples, cooked fruit and 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 gets soaked for up to 24 hours before drying. The clean coffee 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.
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 build new drying beds built. As a result of this the coffees harvested in December 2013 tasted a lot cleaner and therefore we bought a lot more coffee from Kapsokisio this year.