Flavours of apple, raspberry, baked peach

Best as black espresso/filter

This week’s coffee is from Embu county, Kenya. It’s a very welcome and exciting return to one of our favourite origins.

Kathakwa Coffee Factory lies on the rich volcanic soils near Mt Kenya, at a relatively high 1,600 meters above sea level.

View of Kathakwa Coffee Factory View of Kathakwa Coffee Factory

Around 3,500 different farmers contribute coffee to Kathakwa, and their crops are mostly SL28 and SL34 varietals (Embu is one of the last counties in Kenya to adopt the newer Ruiru and Batian varietals which were developed to increase yield and added defence against pests).

View of Kathakwa Coffee Factory View of Kathakwa Coffee Factory

An example of the tracking and traceability of lots at Kathakwa Coffee Factory An example of the tracking and traceability of lots at Kathakwa Coffee Factory

Domonic, Kathakwa’s factory manager, fully documents each lot of coffee received from each farmer, and throughout its processing journey it’s identified and recorded.


You may have noticed the almost ubiquitous references to altitude when specialty coffee roasters talk about coffee – it’s on almost every bag of coffee you’ll have enjoyed from us.

At high altitude the temperature is colder and more stable, and greater levels of rainfall and fast drainage down steep mountain slopes give coffee trees very different growing conditions. These combine to slow the fruit’s maturation process and provide time for more complex sugars to develop in the fruit.

High altitudes tend to produce higher acidity and great complexity, with more florals and aromatics present. Coffee from lower altitudes tend to have more muted but sweet earthy flavours often imagined as an intense ‘coffee’ flavour.

Elevation is not the only geographic factor in a coffee’s quality and development. The latitude (its distance from the equator) is just as important as altitude, as it’s also a big factor in temperature and rainfall.








1600m above sea level


SL28, SL34




November 2016





Roast style


Map showing location of Kenya Kathakwa

What makes up Kenya Kathakwa?


SL28 varietal

SL28 was developed in 1931 by Scott Laboratories to suit the growing conditions in Kenya. The varietal is known for its exceptional cup quality

SL34 varietal

Developed by Scott Laboratories in Kenya, the SL34 varietal was designed to be high yielding with good cup quality.

The location

Coffee from Kenya

Alongside Ethiopia and Colombia, Kenya is one of the origins we get most excited about at the roastery. It exports some of the most vibrant, bright, and unique coffees in the world.

The Embu region of Kenya

Named after the town of Embu, also near Mount Kenya and its fertile growing conditions

Farm processes

Washed process

Machines are used to remove the flesh from the coffee cherry before being fermented in water, washed again, and finally sun dried. This process tends to result in more distinct, cleaner flavours.

Coffee delivery: coffee in resealable bag and farm information card

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