Introducing Limited-Edition Kenya AA Ruera Estate

Kenya AA is the darling of specialty coffee, considered as one of the world’s finest premium cups and beloved by coffee connoisseurs worldwide. So when we brought in our new limited-edition Kenya AA Ruera Estate, we knew it would be special.Kenya AA Ruera Estate from Stockton Graham Coffees

Yet on the first tasting of our freshly roasted beans, we were ecstatic about the cup.

Our delight began with the aromatics. “To me it’s a full-on citrus aroma like when you cut into a fresh-from-the-orchard grapefruit, releasing a sweet citrus smell that permeates the entire room,” said Stockton Graham Coffees roastmaster Brandon Riggs.

Imagine that aroma spilling out from your storefront each morning and beckoning customers into your shop or enticing patrons at your restaurant to “make room” for coffee and dessert after a full meal. Great coffee like our new Ruera Estate can do wonders for your bottom line: drawing in new customers and increasing average ticket size by $2 – $3.

And wonderfully vibrant aromatics are just the beginning. The Ruera Estate boasts a full syrupy body that envelopes the tongue and carries the entire tasting experience. “The body is a platform, of sorts, to show off the coffee’s perfectly balanced flavors that meld the sweet, earthy essence of raisins and dates with the tang of tangerine and a spicy zing,” Brandon said.

Kenya AA Ruera Cupping AttributesAn Exceptional Single Estate Coffee

Stockton Graham Coffee’s Kenya AA is a single estate coffee, which makes it particularly unique and limited. Estate coffees are a specific type of single-origin coffees that are generally grown on a single farm that might range in size from a small plot to a large plantation. This lot was grown one of the oldest coffee farms in Kenya, and because all the beans come from this one farm, only a limited quantity of the Ruera Estate coffee is available every year.

The Ruera Estate is located about 24 miles from Nairobi in a town called Ruira, which is practically dedicated to growing, harvesting and milling specialty coffee. Those who visit the estate immediately surprised by its unique landscape, which is relatively flat. Although most coffee farms around the world tend to be situated on the hilly inclines of mountains, the Ruera Estate is located on a flat plateau 5000+ feet above sea level, which is an extraordinarily high elevation for Kenya.Kenya AA Ruera Map

Rainfall at this elevation is almost 35 inches per year, spread over two rainy season that results in two overlapping crops each year. And these are ideal conditions for coffee. For a coffee tree to flower, it requires a couple of months of dry weather followed by drenching showers. The dry season on the Ruera Estate is seldom hotter than a European summer and never drops below 35F. It’s a temperate environment that make coffee trees and coffee farm workers, alike, flourish.

At least five different varietals of coffee grow on the Ruera Estate, each in its own plot: SL-28, SL-34, Ruiru 11 and Batian SL and K7. Fruit from all of these trees is harvested between November and April. Berries are washed, de-pulped to remove the fruit from around the bean, fermented, washed again and dried on specially built raised beds. Then they are screen-sorted into one of seven sizes or grades, with AA being the best.

Kenya PlateauIncorporated in 1950, the estate is one of nine farms that are part of the Kofinaf coffee mill. Most specialty Kenya coffee is grown by small scale farmers and co-operatives and then consolidated at the mills and testing by the Coffee Board of Kenya. The Kofinaf mill is was the first-ever UTZ-certified mill in the world. It is Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Registered and has been verified to sell 4C compliant coffee since 2008. That means all mill operations are environmentally sound and audited annually for compliance with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to meet strict standards for sustainability.

This commitment to quality is perhaps one of the reasons why the Ruera Estate produces a superior coffee and why the beans are limited in their availability. To order, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 or email

Introducing Brandon’s Anniversary Blend

Chemex brew of Brandon's Anniversary BlendToday we had the pleasure of trying a new Stockton Graham & Co. blend in honor of Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs’ 10th Anniversary! Although Brandon had a strong desire for his Anniversary Blend to incorporate our Papua New Guinea, his favorite varietal right now, he was unable to find a truly-balanced good blend using the PNG. So instead, this “perfect” blend is equal parts Sumatra, Kenya AA and Guatemala, a favorite blend of Brandon’s over the years. A blend that “sticks with him”, Brandon always likes to serve this up to friends and new customers to try as an example of one of his best creations!

Larz Chemex brewing Brandon's Anniversary BlendLarz served me up a mug brewed using the Chemex brewing method, resulting in one of the smoothest cups I’ve ever tasted! I have to agree with Larz that the blend is delicious, incorporating bright, citrusy notes from the Kenya AA, followed by the chocolaty sweetness of the Sumatra. It has a pleasant, spicy, floral aroma and a smooth, medium body. It’s a great “anytime” coffee that an average coffee drinker will love, and true coffee aficianados will appreciate the nuances each specific varietal has to offer.

Brandon talking about Brandon's Anniversary Blend“I’ve never given this blend to anyone who didn’t like it,” said Brandon. “The blend is nicely balanced between the tangy acidity of the Kenya AA, grounded by the sweet chocolate notes of the Sumatra. The Guatemala blends the two opposites together perfectly.”

Thanks so much, Brandon, for 10 years of fantastic coffee!

A Brief History of the French Press

Ed. 7: If you have been following this blog series over the last few weeks, you should feel a bit more comfortable with coffee basics. We have discussed geographic origins, and we have discussed various brew methods. This edition of, “What Do you Taste?,” will focus on the third and final major method of brewing on our agenda, the French Press. This method is another alternative to the traditional auto-drip machine that most people have in their homes and coffee houses. Like the pour-over methods discussed last week, the French Press does not require electricity to function. This method also produces a more traditional (and environmentally friendly) form of coffee because it does not use a paper filter.

The French press method of brewing was originally developed in the nineteenth century by accident. Before the press, coffee was simply boiled along with water. Brewers would allow the coffee grounds to settle and the precipitate would be consumable. A French man decided that he could use a screen to push the coffee grounds to the bottom of his pot in order to produce coffee faster. The Italian coffee movement elaborated on the idea and created a plunger and jug system that fit more neatly. This design has stood the test of time and exemplifies the idea that simplicity is often more desirable.

French Presses are often used in restaurants as a way to exhibit coffee as a visual attraction. Outdoorsmen and backpackers have found the French press’ design both environmentally friendly and light-weight. There is no waste aside from coffee grounds and unused coffee, and clean-up is a breeze. Simply rinse a press with water and it is good to go for another round.

Of course, the press has evolved and some press devices are lavishly decorated, while others are miniaturized for portability, but the original idea has remained for over 200 years. We recommend trying our Kenya AA Nguvu in a press pot.

Kenya AA Evaluations

We are currently evaluating the best roasting profile for our new crop of Kenya AA. We have done 3 experimental roasts already, and we are trying to determine the perfect balance to bring out the sweet flavor and tangy acidity. Hoping to have it perfected by next week!

We’ll be keeping you updated with notes from our experimental roasts. Want to develop a custom house blend with us? Ask one of our customer care associates for more details. 800.835.5943.

Brandon Riggs, Roastmaster
Stockton Graham & Co.