Kenya Ibutiti Estate
In November, David and I traveled to Kenya with one of our sourcing partners, Robert Thoresen of The Collaborative Coffee Source. Among the many destinations, meetings and cuppings on our jam packed itinerary, the highlight was our visit with Ibutiti Estate, a farm which we begun sourcing green from in 2015. Ibutiti is located in Gatanga, 60 km north of Nairobi. Ever since Parlor's inception, we have aimed to identify a high quality Kenyan estate and develop a long-term direct relationship. As far as we can remember, the very best Kenyan coffees have pretty much always originated from the cooperatives (also known as "factories" in Kenya). We've been happy to source impeccable cooperative offerings, and we will continue to do so (they really are the source of some of the most remarkable coffees in the world... some of you may have tasted our Kaiguri AA this past summer). And yet, the idea of buying a top quality coffee from a single estate in Kenya is so intriguing: the potential opportunity to nurture a relationship with an individual farmer is really the kind of thing that gets us up in the morning here at Parlor. Ibutiti has in effect become our model for this project in Kenya. [audio m4a="http://parlorcoffee.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Ibutiti-clip.m4a"][/audio] Mr. William Murathe has managed Ibutiti Estate for over forty years. We arrived at Mr. Murathe's farm at noon; he greeted us under the warm sun with his charismatic persona and promptly gave us a tour of his farm. I must note that I was impressed to see how well built his processing facilities were. His water was very clean and sourced from a deep well on the farm. His drying beds were plentiful, and his pulping equipment all performed in perfect condition. Furthermore, his parchment is stored in a large facility with good air flow and remained cool during the hottest periods of the day. Our conversation with Murathe broached all topics, from processing practices, to history, politics, business and the joy of life on the estate. It turns out that Mr. William Murathe is a much more entrepreneurial farmer than we had expected to find. Murathe was once involved in the wine and liquor importing business. And yet, he says he no longer "wants the hassle," and simply focuses his energy on the farm. Though he comes from a neighboring village, he proudly claims Ibutiti as his home: "I am one of them." Murathe's a healthy looking 84: tall in stature and very cool in his attitude. We're hoping his coffee shines at the end of this harvest as much as it did last season. In the meantime, please enjoy what's left of last season's crop while it's still on our menu.