Kenya Mid-Harvest Update

Published 8 March 2022

At the tail end of 2021, we had high hopes that we’d be traveling to Kenya early this year to cup through the fresh crop lots and select our 2022 line up – that was, until the Omicron wave hit! In place of a trip, we have relied on emails and voice calls with the team at Kenyacof to learn more about conditions on the ground and gauge what to expect from the current season. Read on for a brief update on this year’s crop, and more information on the availability, pricing and timing of this year’s Kenyan shipment.

Overall, it has been a great year for Kenyan coffee growers, as excellent weather conditions across all growing regions have led to an increase in yields and good quality in the cup. Early indications point to a 10% increase on last year’s volumes, which is good news for producers after the low volumes of the 2020 and 2021 crops.

The season began with uncertainty, as the rains that help cherries to ripen dried up in October and November. Luckily, they returned in December and “rescued” the harvest – though their late arrival did cause delays in the drying of the coffee parchment. These delays resulted in an influx of parchment deliveries to Kenyacof’s Kawhawa Bora dry mill over just a few weeks, creating a huge backlog for the team. To catch up and resolve the issue, Kahawa Bora operated for 24 hours a day from January 3rd up until the middle of February – an incredible effort!

As is the case in most coffee-producing countries, this year’s sharp increase in the C-price of green coffee will result in higher prices across the board. Kenya is already known for producing expensive coffees, and our suppliers are currently reporting an increase of up to 15% in FOB pricing. These higher prices have had a positive effect on coffee farmers’ morale and has given many of them the confidence and resources to undertake further improvements to farm operations. The combination of good weather conditions and extremely well-cared for trees has resulted in great quality on the cupping table. 

Fortunately, Covid-related restrictions have not had much of a negative effect on operations at washing stations (or factories, as they are known in Kenya), and although international freight rates have spiked, the country has not faced shipping delays since the middle of last year. Because Kenya is a net importer, container availability is sufficient, and exports have been departing on a timely fashion. We hope this trend continues once our selections set sail in the coming months. At this stage we expect the coffees that we select for our upcoming shipment to land in Australia between June and July. 

As we head into the cupping room to taste offer samples, now is the time to let us know what you’re looking for from this incredible origin. Whether you would like to feature a lot from a particular producer whose coffees you have loved in the past, or to brief us in on your preferred flavour profile, regional characteristics or intended volumes – communicating your requirements ahead of purchasing helps us to accurately gauge demand for the year and is the best way to secure the coffees you love! You can read more about our Kenyan sourcing program here, or simply call or email our team to chat further.