Load image into Gallery viewer, Ngandori AA
                        Load image into Gallery viewer, Ngandori AA

Ngandori AA

Waves of ripe fruit, a classic Kenyan berry character is backed up by heavier plum notes.

Expect notes of:



Lemon Curd


Ngandori AA

Around 1000 members of the Ngandori Cooperative deliver ripe cherries to the Mwiria factory, located at around 2000 masl in western Embu. Mwiria means ‘huge’ in the local Kikuyu dialect; the factory is named for a large tree that used to sit on the factory lands. During colonial times, freedom fighters hollowed out a large tree and used it as a hideout away from colonial forces. The water supply for the factory comes from the Rupingazi river, formed when Mt. Kenya was still an active volcano. The cool clean water flowing from the top of the mountain is used for all stages of the processing at the factory. The dormant volcano has other advantages for coffee production here; the volcanic soil in the area is highly fertile, and also contains a very high level of natural phosphorus, so much so that an appreciable amount makes it’s way into the processed green coffee. During roasting, this forms into phosphoric acid, which we can taste in the final cup. This inorganic acid is an additive in cola, so gives the same refreshing blackcurrant or cola like character in some Kenyan coffees. The lot consists of the classic Kenyan varietals SL28 and SL34, strains of Bourbon selected by Scott Laboratories due to their high quality potential and drought resistance, as well as being well suited to Kenyan growing conditions. There is also a small amount of Batian, a hybrid variety with a high level of tolerance to disease. Batian is closely related to Ruiru 11, another disease resistant hybrid popular in Kenya. Both count SL28 and SL34 as parents, along with some Robusta crossing. Since it’s release in 2010, many farmers have experimented with small amounts of Batian and Ruiru, but so far these varietals still make up a tiny minority of exported lots. This lot has a distinct raspberry character, a creaminess that alongside the bright acidity is reminiscent of lemon curd, and a gentle plum-like sweetness.

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 fermentation tanks, and fermented again 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 the reason Kenyan coffees are so consistently of very high quality, and why they carry a price premium above many other producing countries.


Producer Mwiria
Region Embu
Altitude 2000 masl
Varietal SL28, SL34, Batian
Process Washed
Harvest December 2018


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 flavor that developed in the cell structure of the seed prior to processing.

La Cabra

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Hario V60


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