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Onyx Coffee Lab

Kenya Kiamutuira OT-15

Apricot, blackberry jam, cola.

This coffee jumped off the cupping table from among 80 other coffees with its classic Kenyan flavor profile: complex, with jammy sweetness, viibrant, tart acidity, and super creamy body. The perfect balance of fruits and sugar caramelization make for a memorable cup.

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Country
Kenya
Region
Kirinyaga
Farm
Mutira Farmer Cooperative
Farmer
Kiamutuira Factory
Elevation
2000m
Variety
SL28
Process
Washed Process

Meet Kiamutuira Factory

Near the heart of Kenya, deep in Kirinyaga County, stands the Kiamutuira factory (wet mill). Built in 1996, it is part of the now famous Mutira Farmers’ Co-op, and is a vital hub for 350-400 neighboring farmers who bring their coffees there to be processed.

Mwai N Riko manages the factory. With the help of Coffee Management Services (CMS), he promotes and trains smallholder farmers in agricultural practices, encouraging them to undergo certifications with Utz, Rainforest Alliance, 4C and Fair Trade, all of which add value to their coffees. Riko and the growers who bring their coffee cherries to Kiamutuira factory are working to increase production. Transparent, trusting relationships with the farmers and families, advancing school fees and aiming for mutually beneficial practices are a few ways that this mill is making a impact in the community and in the world of coffee.

Kirinyaga, Kenya

Coffee from the Kirinyaga region of Kenya flourishes in rich, volcanic soil and after selective picking, is processed in fresh water from the Kii River. Full of sweet complex flavors, lively acidity, and rich velvet body, specialty lots of Kirinyaga coffees carry a distinct terroir that some call classic Kenyan flavor. Here the climate is very like a European summer and much of the coffee grows in the shade of towering overstory.

Kirinyaga has both smallholders and medium-sized farms, some of which have their own processing equipment. For those that don’t, wet mills are accessible at local cooperative sites. Co-op member farmers can utilize any mill they choose, and unlike many coffee producing nations, Kenya’s traditional auction system rewards higher quality with higher prices, creating incentive for excellence both in coffee cultivation and processing.

Links
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Location
Springdale, AR
Contact
Email
479-799-6552

Onyx Coffee Lab

Lest the myth perpetuate that specialty coffee does not come from Arkansas, Onyx Coffee Lab is blowing that particular urban legend out of the water while creating a few of their own. Husband-wife owners Jon and Andrea Allen have rapidly taken the coffee world by storm with their combination of art and science.

The magic starts with sourcing, with countless small sample batches from coffee importers and with direct visits to farms around the world. "I know direct trade means a lot of different things to different people, but for us if we don’t put money in the producers hands we won’t call it direct trade," says Jon. Once found, the coffees are carefully roasted in twenty-pound or smaller batches, then shared with the three Onyx cafés and over 150 wholesale customers in thirty states.

Clearly Onyx Coffee Lab knows what they're doing: not only were they named Imbibe Magazine's 2016 Coffee Bar of the year, this northwest Arkansas matrix of coffee know-how just cleaned house at the April 2017 U.S. Coffee Championships. Andrea Allen placed second in the Barista Championship, Dylan Siemans won first in Brewer's Cup, and roaster Mark Michaelson place first in the Roaster Championship!

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