Why Kush coffee

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Our coffee has a world-class flavour and here’s why

  • 80+ Specialty Arabica Beans
  • Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)
  • Shade-grown
  • Handpicked
  • Pre-blended
  • Small Batch Roasted
  • Fresh
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Andy holding freshly roasted fairtrade coffee beans


Our shade-grown coffee tastes far superior and is also much better for the environment

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Coffee naturally grows under a forest canopy. Shade-grown is very important because the beans ripen slowly and develop a rich, complex and wonderful flavour. But sun-tolerant coffee has been developed to get faster ripening and higher-yield production rates.

Most of the world’s coffee beans are now sun-grown. Exposed to full sun, the beans are forced to ripen quickly, and this greatly affects the flavour. There are however some small producers that grow organically, belong to Fairtrade co-operatives and produce high-quality shade-grown beans. These are the growers we get our beans from.

All our coffee is shade-grown – with a quirky caveat! Ethiopia is the only coffee-growing country that doesn’t prune its coffee plants. Instead, the coffee plants are left to grow to their full height - about 3 metres. So in the case of our beans from Ethiopia, the coffee plants both receive shade from bigger trees and in their turn, also create shade for plants to flourish beneath. Again, this creates a balanced and healthy eco-system.

Shade-grown coffee requires no spraying because it’s growing in a balanced eco-system. But sun-grown coffee is among the most highly sprayed and chemically treated crops in the world - and in countries where sprays are highly unregulated. Unlike shade-grown, sun-grown coffee does not sequester carbon but releases it.

In addition, the forest-like nature of shade coffee farms provides habitat for not just high numbers of animals, birds, bats, reptiles, insects and plants but of all agricultural land uses, it also provides the most diversity.
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Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) scores coffee out of 10 on a standardised scale across ten different categories including aroma, body, flavour, acidity, balance, sweetness and finish. That’s how the’ cupping score ’the mark out of 100 - comes about.

Typically, specialty coffee is shade-grown at high altitudes with much care and attention from the farmers. From there it’s sold at a premium to coffee traders. At Kush we only use specialty coffee beans.

And those specialty beans are Arabica. Most supermarket coffee, instant and cheap ground coffee is Robusta. Arabica beans are widely acknowledged to be much superior in flavour but the Arabica plants are more difficult to grow, take longer to mature and yield less beans. That’s why Arabica beans are pricier.

The Coffee Arabica plant originates from Ethiopia. The name came about when coffee travelled from Ethiopia to Arabia in the 7th century. Arabica coffee plants prefer tropical climates close to the equator and high altitudes, which is why they’re often grown on hillsides. Some of the best Arabica coffee is grown in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Sumatra.

80+ Specialty Arabica Beans

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Coffee around the world is graded to an agreed standard set by the Specialty Coffee Association. A mark out of 100 is given and specialty coffee is coffee that scores 80 or higher – less than 1% of the world’s coffee. At Kush we only use specialty Arabica coffee beans.


Coffee ‘beans’ are actually the seeds of the coffee cherry. Unlike most fruit, the cherries don’t all ripen at the same time and yet large sun-grown monoculture plantations use machines to harvest, and they harvest all the berries at once.

Handpicking allows for just the ripe red berries to be picked. The flavour of the beans from the ripe berries is a world away from that of unripe berries. Handpicking also creates jobs for people in the developing countries where coffee predominantly grows.


Pre-blending beans and roasting them together creates a wonderful flavour. (Imagine a meal where the ingredients are all cooked separately and only combined at the end). Most coffee roasters post-blend because it’s more economical that way but pre-blending absolutely creates a better flavour.

Small Batch Roasted

Roasting in small batches ensures quality and consistency. It makes it easier to control the roasting process and make sure that all the beans get a precision roast. Small batch roasting leads to superior quality control. And it keeps the coffee fresher. At Kush we small batch roast in a top-notch Has Garanti roaster.


Many companies use cheap packaging and long Best Before dates – around 6 months - to maximise profits. 

At Kush we use high-quality packaging that locks in the freshness. Life’s too short to drink stale coffee.

Coffee blends

Single origin coffee


8 Vickerman St, Port Nelson If you want to talk coffee or have any problems call us on: 022 500 1184