New Challenges, Top Quality in Kenya 2024

After several weeks on the ground in Kenya meeting with partners, cupping, and making commitments, we’re back in the states and feeling on solid ground despite the novel complexity we’re seeing this year.

This year presents exceptional challenges to coffee sourcing in East Africa, and Kenya in particular. Between the Kenyan goverment’s new regulations on agronomic exports and the logistical hardships in the Red Sea that have forced all coffee to travel around southern Africa and the Cape of Good Hope instead of its usual faster, more placid, and less expensive route through the Suez, this is a year where we don’t expect to see many US importers holding a large Kenyan spot position.

Because we got in early, we already have our first container on the water and our second expected to go afloat end of February. Prices are climbing in Kenya and bottlenecks are expected, so getting in and getting our coffee out early is key to our strategy this year.

This first chop has larger lots of Kiangoi and Ngugu-Ini among others across the AB and PB tiers, all excellent. Kenya saw some late-harvest rains this year that reduced the size of the crop, increasing quality by relieving pressure on processing speed and allowing washing stations time to handle their cherry with care.

Our second container will showcase the advantage of buying from stations that pay the most for coffee, allowing them to attract the highest-quality cherry. This is the play for New Ngiriama Cooperative Society, made up of 2023 top washing station Kamwangi and nearby washing stations Kainamui and Kiamagumo. NGCS pays up to 20-30 shillings more per kg cherry than surrounding stations in Kirinyaga, and as we saw last year with Kamwangi, this results in phenomenal coffees. They also invest heavily in infrastructure for quality, like solar dryers and sorting tables, further driving up quality and membership numbers.

Interested in sourcing coffee with us? Reach out at info@redfoxcoffeemerchants.comTo learn more about our work, check out our journal and follow us on Instagram @redfoxcoffeemerchants, Twitter @redfoxcoffeeSpotify, and YouTube.

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