Along with perfect growing conditions the attention to detail and meticulous preparation employed at Kiango involves two-stage fermentation, 24 hour soak and a carefully managed drying procedure - also carried out over two stages!
The first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, beans are then washed before being placed in the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the process is completed the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed coffee will then enter soaking tanks where it can sit under clean water for up to 24 hours; the soak helps develop higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup - contributing to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are famed for.
The vast majority of the coffee bought and sold in Kenya is traded through the national auction system, where marketing agents enter cooperatives and estates’ coffees, and traders come to bid.
The good thing with the system in Kenya is that everything is more or less separated into small lots and different grades. By tradition and through the auction system each coffee has been evaluated separately and get a value and individual price based on the cup quality and attributes. This gives the producers great incentives to focus on quality control, as it will normally pay off.
In the last couple of years it has been possible to start buying directly from the auction using a local Kenyan company; they bid on the coffee on our behalf, after we have cupped through auction samples filtered by a local cupper. This not only helps support local, Kenyan businesses, but also makes the supply chain more efficient.