Our last Kenyan coffee of the season, please join us in welcoming back a sweet, heady AA lot from the Karimikui factory in Kenya’s Kirinyaga County.
Several hundred smallhold farmers in the villages of Kiamugumo, Githure and Gituba deliver their coffee cherries to the Karimikui factory, some by foot, some on motorbike and some by ox-drawn carts. The farmers are able to attend agricultural seminars held by the Rungeto FCS year-round, as well as gain access to fertilisers, with the aim of helping them to sustain their coffee production.
The Washing Station
The coffee cherries are first sorted through by hand for under- or over-ripe cherries, and then floated to sort by density before depulping. After depulping, they are fermented for up to 24 hours. The washing stage is then done by periodically introducing clean water from the nearby Nyamindi river into the tanks and stirring the coffee, before sluicing away the dissolving fruit mucilage layers.
Once squeaky clean the coffee is moved to a soaking tank to sit in fresh water for another 24 hours before it goes out to dry on raised beds. This can take between 12 and 20 days, depending on the weather conditions. The water used in processing is treated in two large soak pits before it makes its way back into the local water table, to break down the sugars, acids and particulates that accumulate during coffee processing.
The Farmers' Co-operative Society
The Karimikui CWS is run by the Rungeto Farmers’ Co-Operative Society (FCS). They also oversee Kii CWS and Kiangoi CWS, from whom we’ve also tasted delicious coffees over the years. The region, Ngariama, was previously home to one of the largest FCS in Kenya, called Ngiriama FCS. It was liquidated in 1996 which allowed smaller FCS to snap up their assets, like Rungeto taking over Karimikui, Kii and Kiangoi. As well as processing coffee cherries the FCS has created job opportunities and improved the local community’s infrastructure by opening a fuel station and a dairy cooling facility. Some of the smallholder coffee farmers who deliver coffee cherries also have cattle, and so can sell their milk to the dairy.
Impeccable processing and drying conditions, coupled with predominantly SL28 & SL34 varieties grown in volcanic soils in a cool climate makes for an excellent expression of Kenya’s Kirinyaga country, with lots of tart red fruits and sweetness in the cup
Ngariama, Kirinyaga, Kenya
A very sweet, flowery coffee with a flavour like raspberry ripple ice cream. Light caramel tones underpin a plush acidity with hints of cranberry.