Featuring in our range for the fourth year, we’re absolutely loving the vibrant, fruity characteristics found in this AA lot from the Gachatha washing station. It is fast becoming our go-to coffee to brew over ice on sunny days.
The 900 active members of the Gachatha Farmers’ Co-operative Society are smallhold producers responsible for growing the coffee that is delivered to, and processed at, the Gachatha washing station, or Coffee Factory as it is typically called in Kenya. On average they tend to around 300 coffee trees and, through the FCS and their partnership with Coffee Management Services (CMS), gain access to loans for school fees, subsidies on inputs for their plants and training in agronomy to boost productivity and vigour.
The varieties grown in the Nyeri region of Kenya are predominantly SL28 and SL34, with Batian and Ruiru 11 varieties becoming a lot more common. The conditions in the villages of Muthuaini, Thiriku, Gachenge, and Kianjau that surround the factory have deep, fertile and well-draining soils which are deep red in colour and rich with volcanic deposits, making them well suited to high quality coffee production.
The Factory & Their Approach
Established in 1963, Gachatha Coffee Factory is the only washing station operated by the Gachatha FCS, and their focus has always been on producing high quality lots.
Ripe coffee cherries are delivered by the contributing smallholders, before being depulped and then fermented overnight, when temperatures dip to around 13°C. The next day the mucilage is washed off the parchment and the seeds are soaked to homogenise and clean them further before being put to dry on raised beds in the sun for up to 15 days. Water used to depulp the cherries is pumped to the factory from the local Kangunu stream, and is recirculated to reduce the volume of water being used. Post-processing water is treated in large soak pits to avoid contaminating local waterways, and the community are protecting indigenous trees in the area to preserve habitats for birds and other local wildlife.
Up until late 2021 the factory was still using their traditional McKinnon disc pulper, which has been in use since the washing station was established in the 1960s. Through their partnership with CMS they recently took delivery of a new eco-pulping machine, which cost 6 million Kenyan Shillings. This will enable the factory to reduce the water needed in processing five-fold as well as allow more control over the amount of mucilage left on the parchment before the fermentation stage. The chairman of Gachatha FCS, Peter Mathenge, is very excited and pleased with the new technological advancement, with hopes that coffee quality will go up in subsequent harvests.
Image taken by, and used with the kind permission of, Jake Green.
Kihora, Nyeri, Kenya
Sparkling & crisp, look for aromas of rhubarb & rose petals. A tart, lime-like acidity complements sweet pomegranate before a white chocolate finish.