Kuma Coffee Roasters / by Caleb Savage

With a singular focus of sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffees, Seattle’s Kuma Coffee never disappoints. We had the pleasure of tasting a few samples from Kuma a couple weeks ago and are excited to share with you a little bit more about Kuma alongside their Ethiopia Chelelektu.  

ORIGINS TO ORIGIN

Kuma’s founder, Mark Barany has been around coffee since the mid-90s when he and his parents moved to Nairobi, Kenya as missionaries. “I learned to play rugby. I learned to speak Swahili. But most importantly, I learned I loved African coffee,” reads Mark’s letter on Kuma’s website. After a few years as a barista and later as a hobby roaster, selling to friends and local stores, Kuma ramped up production in 2009 with “a desire to make something available that wasn’t before in Seattle: high scoring, super specialty coffee that is roasted really well.”  Out of this desire, Kuma has “grown to sourcing most of our volume at origin, and even buying green coffee for other roasters,” says Peter Mark Ingalls, who we spoke to for this article.  This relationship with farmers has been essential in the development of Kuma as a specialty roaster.

Peter Mark Ingalls (left) and Mark Barany (Photo courtesy of Kuma Coffee)

Peter Mark Ingalls (left) and Mark Barany (Photo courtesy of Kuma Coffee)

ROASTING AND SEATTLE

Kuma roasts on a Loring Kestrel 35k for their friends and wholesale partners in Seattle and around the US, so they recommend finding Kuma in Seattle at some of their cafe partners like: Milstead & Co., Ada’s Technical Books, Mr. West, Tougo, Empire, Convoy Coffee, or Sea Wolf Bakers. Kuma also recommends brunch at Porkchop & Co. followed by a walk around Discovery Park alongside the Puget Sound.  

Staff Joel Harrison and Christine Esparolini cupping production (Photo courtesy of Kuma Coffee)

Staff Joel Harrison and Christine Esparolini cupping production (Photo courtesy of Kuma Coffee)

COFFEES TO ANTICIPATE

From Peter Mark: “I think our Colombians are really top notch. We work hard on sourcing all of our origins, but our Colombians are super dialed in. We travel there each year with Azahar Coffee and visit some of the farmers that grow our coffee. These are pristine farms, tiny, like 1-8 hectares, high up in the mountains, usually hovering around 2000 meters above sea level. The farmers take such pride in their coffee, and do such a pro job. They do all their own fermentation and drying as well as growing the crop, unlike most other origins. This is hands on all the way. We love meeting with them, and paying them a serious premium for their excellent work. Colombian coffees are some of the most complex cupping coffees out there for me, I’m super proud of them and look forward to roasting and selling them every winter.”

We’re always excited about serving Kuma at the shop. As always, we’ll have the Ethiopia Chelelektu on Espresso and Chemex Pourover. If you’re interested in checking out the crazy complexities of this coffee, try it out both ways!