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 Mugaya Factory (wetmill) is part of the Mutira Cooperative Society in Kirinyaga in Central Kenya. Kirinyaga is a neighboring region to Nyeri on the slopes of Mount Kenya. They are known for quality production of both coffee and tea, and have great altitude and soil. There are a number of small coffee estates in the area, but it is mainly made up of smallholder farms, each with some 100 trees each. They are organized in Cooperative Societies that acts as umbrella organizations for the Factories (wetmills), where the local smallholders deliver their coffee cherries for processing. Coffees from this area are typically rich, with dark fruit flavors, intense and heavy bodied.
The society is cooperating with CMS, Coffee Management Services, who are implementing quality control at the wetmills. They also have training programs for sustainability at farm level. By training the farmers on better farming practices, they are able to increase both quality and production of cherries. CMS has been very successful in increasing the farmers’ livelihood through systematic work on the ground.
Cooperative: Mutira Cooperative Society
Wet mill: Mugaya Factory
Altitude: 1800 masl
Producers: About 1800 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: Smallholders delivers their cherries at the factory (wetmill). 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 36 hours, and after fermentation the coffees are washed twice and again graded by density in washing channels. They are then soaked under clean water for 6-12 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: Mugaya is one of four factories under the Mutira Cooperative Society in Kirinyaga. They have in recent years changed management and have increased the quality level as well as the payback to the farmers. They have great potential, and have taken necessary steps towards systems for traceability and quality control. This coffee is bought directly from the cooperative.
Cupping notes: Intense dark fruit in aroma. Black currant, black grapes and plum in flavor. Super sweet, rich and flavor dense. Creamy and balanced with high intensity and good structure. Juicy and clean finish.