Thanks to its bold and distinctive flavor, Kenyan coffee enjoys a widely celebrated reputation. In January of 2020, we spent a week in Kenya sourcing for our sixth year of purchase from the country. We visited farms that we’d previously bought from, as well as farms and washing stations that were new to us—with an eye out for the highest quality of practices. The Karani washing station is in Kirinyaga County—far flung from Nairobi—and is a part of the Kabare Farmers Cooperative Society. At Karani, we found special attention to detail in their fermenting, washing, and drying. We were given fresh samples on the spot and, upon our return to the Nairobi export office, we roasted and cupped their AA and AB lot (AA 18/17 screen size, and AB—smaller size—15/16.)
We selected the AB lot for its nuanced flavor profile, preferred over a simple but very sweet AA. From our experience, AB size frequently presents a more complex cup, counter to tradition in which AA are considered superior. As Upper Left tends toward lighter roasts, we practice quality analysis that tastes for complex flavors as objectively as possibly, and we typically favor AB size over AA. What we found in Karani’s coffee was outstanding: it’s a coffee we’d be proud to present to our customers, and that we believe to be a best-in-class representation of Kenyan coffee.
For pleasant citric acidity and delicate notes brew this coffee on your pour-over of choice. It's equally enjoyable as espresso for those with home machines. For espresso age to 14-24 days and pull shots at a fairly high dose to produce sweet honey flavor.