Having previously purchased AA graded coffee from the Gichatha-ini Factory, located in the Mathira West district of Kenya’s Nyeri region, this is our first time roasting their peaberries. Managed by the Gikanda Farmers’ Co-operative society, they also run two other coffee washing stations in the local area: Ndaro-ini and Kangocho. Close by, along the Ragati river, is Gatomboya station in Karatina town, the factory behind our last Kenyan peaberry.
The coffee is grown by smallholder farmers, around a third of whom are women, who raise their coffee alongside maize, beans, yams and bananas. Their crops benefit from the deep red volcanic soils of the area, but they also have access through the co-operative to fertilisers and pesticides. Through proper training on their application, some farmers have noted their coffee trees that used to only produce around 500 cherries are now providing three times that. The predominant varieties of coffee being grown are SL28 and SL34, but a small percentage of Batian and Ruiru 11 is also present in this lot. Ruiru 11 was developed following an outbreak in the 60s of Coffee Berry Disease, bred from a mixture of SL28, SL34, Bourbon and N39 for flavour, and Rume Sudan, K7 and Timor Hybrid for resistance. It is a dwarf variety with resistance to Coffee Berry Disease and tolerance against Coffee Leaf Rust. Batian is then an improvement on the Ruiru 11 variety, which doesn’t share the gene for dwarfism but has a slightly better cup profile, being released in Kenya in 2010.
The farmers deliver their harvested coffee cherries to the coffee washing station where it is sorted by hand for anything other than ripe fruit, before being pulped and fermented in tanks overnight. Once the mucilage has broken down by the natural microbiota present in the air and on the fruit, the coffee is washed using water from the Ragati river, which is then treated in soak pits after it becomes acidic and full of sugars from the washing process. Once washed, the parchment coffee is dried on raised beds.
The result of all of this hard work is an intensity concentrated cup profile, laden with tart fruit flavours and a lot of sweetness. We hope you enjoy it!
Mathira West, Nyeri, Kenya
Expect a juicy, concentrated cup with a tart lime and blackcurrant acidity, complemented by super sweet rosehip, mandarin and physalis notes.