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Kenya

Gakuyuini

Fresh forest berries and caramel

A fresh character is reminiscent of fresh forest berries, balanced by a rich caramel sweetness

Grown by smallholders surrounding the town of Ngariama, on the slopes of Mount Kenya in northeastern Kirinyaga

  • Producer
    Thirikwa FCS
  • Coffee expression
    A fruity & acidic coffee
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Regular price
$24.00

incl. vat/tax

Sale price
$24.00

incl. vat/tax

Regular price
$24.00
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Processed at the Gakuyuini station, owned by the Thirikwa Farmers Cooperative Society.

Kenya

Gakuyuini

The Gakuyuini factory is located just outside the small town of Ngariama, in the eastern Kirinyaga region. Like much of the excellent coffee we find in Kenya, Gakuyuini is located on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya, home to fertile volcanic soils and plentiful high altitude. Gakuyuini was built in 1982 and is the only mill owned by the Thirikwa Farmers Cooperative Society, of which there are just over 1500 members. Most of the farmers here have 200-250 coffee trees, spread amongst other crops and farming activities, like maize, macadamia and dairy. These other crops are used both for food and for selling at local markets.

The fertile soils and excellent climate in this region lead to very high coffee quality, and the factory’s 3 full time workers careful control of cherry quality and fermentation ensure this reaches the final cup. All of this increases prices, in fact the Thirikwa Cooperative broke the Kirinyaga record for the price paid to its farmers in 2017, and have been one of the most consistently high-paying cooperatives since. Most farmers here have coffee as their only main cash crop, so the cooperative is encouraging them to grow more coffee to benefit from these high prices, supporting them with seedlings and agronomic advice to maintain quality. This work passes through into the cup, with a ripe and rich character of forest berries and caramel.

The Cooperative system in Kenya

Kenya operates on a system similar to its neighbour Ethiopia, where small-holder farmers are often part of cooperatives, delivering their harvested cherries to wet mills owned by the cooperative to be processed. In Kenya, these wet mills are more often referred to as factories, and many cooperatives own several within a small region, keeping the distance from farm to mill down. The cooperative pays a price to each farmer for their cherries, depending on the quality and quantity they delivered to the mill, and on the price they receive from green coffee buyers for the processed product. Cooperatives often employ a mill manager, a very important role, as they are ultimately responsible for the quality of the mill’s output. Their stewardship of coffee fermentation is a huge factor, but the quality of raw cherries arriving at the mill is also important to control. Careful sorting during fermentation stages can help, but often managers will reject damaged or unripe cherries before they even enter the mill. Many cooperatives also pool their resources to provide support to their members, such as visits from agronomists, and low interest loans for investment in farms.

Kenya’s traditional washed process is a big factor in the unique character of Kenyan coffees. The cherries are first depulped mechanically, as soon as they arrive at the factory. The cherries should arrive for depulping as soon as possible after picking, hence why cooperatives make a great effort to have factories located close to concentrations of smallholders. After depulping, the seeds are covered in a layer of sticky fruity pulp, or mucilage. The mucilage is fermented in large tanks for between 12 and 24 hours, breaking it down to a point that it can be thoroughly ‘washed’ from the seeds, using long washing channels. Then, before drying, the cherries are taken to another set of tanks, and soaked under water, normally for a shorter time, between 10 and 12 hours. This ‘double soak’ is popular in Kenya, and is useful not only for enhancing the cleanliness and intensity of the final cup, but also as a second opportunity to sort for lower density floating seeds, as these are often of lower quality, or from unripe cherries. This attention to detail is one of the reasons Kenyan coffees are so consistently of very high quality, and why they carry a price premium above many other producing countries.

Technical Data

  • Producer

    Thirikwa FCS
  • Region

    Kirinyaga
  • Altitude

    1800 masl
  • Varietal

    SL28, Ruiru 11, Batian
  • Process

    Washed
  • Harvest

    December 2021

Washed Process

The washed process involves completely removing both the cherry and the mucilage from the outside of the parchment with the use of friction, fermentation and water. After being harvested, the coffee cherry is then sliced open by either a metal or a sharp plastic blade.

The two seeds (also known as beans) are pushed out of the cherry, which leaves the seed with mucilage as their outermost layer. It is essential in the washed process that all mucilage is removed from the seed which leaves only the flavour that developed in the cell structure of the seed prior to processing.


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United Arab Emirates

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Roastery

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark

Have a question?

Please write us in the chat.

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark