Kenya started with coffee production in the early 1900s and has for generations been known for its quality. Kenya has great altitudes, climate, and soil, and its varietals have adapted to the local growing conditions and have excellent cup quality. The coffees are truly unique and recognizable in flavor, and the coffee sector has developed a structure to maintain quality as well as traceability.
For more information on Kenya, see our earlier post here
The Gitchathaini Factory (wetmill) is part of the Gikanda Cooperative Society in Nyeri in Central Kenya. Nyeri is known for coffees with intense, complex, and flavor-dense cup profiles. It is made up of mainly smallholder farms, each with some 100 trees. They are organized in Cooperative Societies that acts as umbrella organizations for the Factories (wetmills), where the smallholders deliver their coffee cherries for processing.
There is a lot of competition in Nyeri. Many of the farmers are surrounded by several wetmills. They are free to choose where they want to deliver their cherries as members. Due to the traditional auction system in Kenya, quality is rewarded with higher prices. The better factories will then attract more farmers by producing coffee getting the highest prices, as well as giving high payback rate to the farmers. This can in some cases be about 90% of the sales price after cost of marketing and preparation is deducted.
Cooperative: Gikanda Cooperative Society
Wet mill: Gitchathaini Factory
Altitude: 1600 – 1900 masl
Producers: About 800 smallholders in the surrounding areas deliver cherries to the wet mill.
Varietals: Mainly SL 28 and SL 34
Grade: AA refers to the bean size. AA in Kenya is screen size above 17/18.
Production: All coffees are pulped, dry fermented, washed, soaked and sundried
Process: Cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go in to production. A 3-disc Agaarde pulping machine removes the skin and pulp. The coffees are graded by density in to 3 grades by the pulper. Grade 1 and 2 go separately to fermentation. Grade 3 is considered low grade.
The coffee is fermented for 24-36 hour under close shade. After fermentation the coffees are washed and again graded by density in washing channels and are then soaked under clean water for 16-18 hours.
Drying: Sun dried up to 21 days on African drying beds. Coffees are covered in plastic during midday and at night.
Soil: Mainly Nitisol. Nitisols occur in highlands and on volcanic steep slopes. They are developed from volcanic rocks and have better chemical and physical properties than other tropical soils.
Notes: Gikanda Cooperative Society and Gitchathaini factory has for years been one of the most respected producers in Nyeri. This has been proved by great cup results and consistent high prices in the market—and the amount given back to the farmers has been above 88%. They have been very consistent on quality over the years and have great systems for traceability and quality control. This coffee is bought directly from the cooperative.
Cupping notes: Intense citric aromas. Raspberry and red currant-like intense flavors in the opening, great juiciness and pointed lemony acidity profile. Sweet, slim and very well structured. Finishes off with red berries and some floral notes. Appears extremely transparent.