- April - July
Kenya PB Kibirigwi Ngungu-ini 2023
Kibirigwi Peaberry Kenyan Coffee
The Ngungu-ini Factory is part of the Kibirigwi Farmers’ Cooperative Society, which includes eight other factories in the region. The Ngugu-in factory was founded in 1958. Today it draws coffee from 1,200 smallholders from Kirinyaga County at the foothills of Mount Kenya
In Kirinyaga, the hills are lush with deep red volcanic soil, rich in organic matter. At altitudes ranging from 1,600 to 1,800masl, the SL-34, SL-28, and Ruiru 11 coffee varieties that grow here develop into vibrant, fruit-forward coffees.
Kenyan Coffee Quality
Kenyan coffee 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 highly sought-after Kenya PB, where only a single coffee bean grows inside a cherry instead of the typical twin beans. Because only one bean matures, the peaberry usually develops with more sugars and nutrients than twin beans that share a cherry. That’s also why peaberries are rounder and denser than most 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 Ngugu-ini cooperative 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 Kirinyaga County
Kibirigwi Farmers Cooperative Society, Ngungu-ini factory
SL34, SL28, Ruiri 11
April - July