- April - July
Kenya AB Kimaratia Gachika 2023
Kimaratia FCS Gachika Factory Kenyan Coffee
Nestled in the Central Highlands at 1,800-1,900masl, the Gachika Factory (wet mill) serves 660 smallholders around the Kiamworia area in Kiambu County. These farmers collectively produce around 133 tons of cherry every year, and their total farmland spans around 181 hectares. Approximately 95% of the land is dedicated to cultivating SL-28 and SL-34 coffee trees, while Ruiri-11 grows throughout the remaining 5%.
Established in 1996, the Gachika Factory is part of the Kimaratia Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS). The FCS owns and operates three mills throughout Kiambu County. Two elected board members manage each wet mill in the FCS, and a supervisory board oversees the management committee. Both committees actively report to the rest of the coop members in annual general meetings.
Kenya Green Coffee Quality
Green coffee from Kenya is graded by screen size. The grades range from E (Elephant Bean), PB (peaberry), AA, AB, C, and other subsequent lower grades. This lot is a collection of AB screen size coffees from estates and cooperatives, which means it includes a mix of screen size 15/16 coffee beans.
Washed Process Coffee in Kenya
The coffee was primarily grown by smallholders – with an average of 200 trees each - who handpicked ripe cherries in the morning and delivered them to the Gachika factory (wet mill). The coffee cherries were subsequently disc pulped between two rotating abrasive slabs with the help of clean water, then fully fermented overnight.
The wet mill manager inspected the fermented beans for optimal textures of broken-down fruit mucilage and parchment coating before they were thoroughly washed. After pouring the washed beans down a sloped tiled channel, the beans were pushed repeatedly by wooden shunts back to the top to separate lighter and heavier beans. This ensured that only the heavier, denser, higher-quality beans made it into this micro-lot.
Finally, this washed Kenyan coffee was sundried on raised beds. Consolidated parchment volumes were then delivered to dry mills where the parchment was hulled, graded according to size and density, warehoused, and warranted for sale via the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.
Kenyan Coffee Beans
Although Kenya and Ethiopia share a border, their coffee histories have little in common. French missionaries introduced coffee to Kenya in 1893. Coffee production expanded mainly on large estates. Green coffee from Kenya could only be traded through the national auction until 2006 when new legislation made it possible for producers to sell directly to buyers.
Kenyan coffee production has upheld quality and consistency throughout the years with detail-oriented management at the washing stations. Over 600,000 smallholder farmers nationwide are organized into Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS) that oversee traceability and quality control for its membership body.
Kenya green coffee beans are celebrated for their bold, fruit-forward flavors that pack a punch in complex acidity. SL-28 and SL-34 are two of the most well-known coffee varieties grown in Kenya. The signature varietals were developed by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (hence, SL) in the 1930s for drought resistance, exceptional cup quality, and large yield at high altitudes. After a coffee berry disease (CBD) epidemic in 1968, the CBD-resistant Ruiru-11 coffee variety was developed and quickly adopted throughout the country.
Region Kiamworia, Kiambu County
Kimaratia FCS, Gachika Factory
SL34, SL28, Ruiri 11
April - July