TASTING: Blackberry juice & candied lime, mind-melting
PRODUCER: Thirikwa Farmers Cooperative Society
GROWERS: 1,553 smallholder farms from near Githiru, Gituba and Mukure
WET MILL: Gakuyuini Factory
ORIGIN: Kirinyaga, Gichugu
VARIETIES: SL-34, SL-28
ELEVATION: 1700 masl
PROCESS: Fully washed
HARVEST: Winter 2018 - 2019
Net wt. 10oz (285g)
─ PREORDER ─ Roasting on October 23 ─ PREORDER ─
Kenya. The quality of coffee coming from this origin is simply amazing. Cupping the pre-ship samples was actually extremely difficult because all of the coffees were so good. However, this one stood above the rest. We are pretty confident that this is the best Kenyan coffee we have ever tasted, and that includes comparison to George Howell's legendary Mamuto AA from various harvests as well as our own Gatomboya AA from a year ago. One of our cuppers said it was "mind-melting" of how good it tastes. We loved that description so much that it became our overall flavor descriptor.
All the beautiful blackberry and blackcurrant notes that are so characteristic of top quality Kenyans are here, as well as an intense but somehow not aggressive lime-like acidity, with huge sweetness to finish it off.
─ PREORDER ─ Roasting on October 30 ─ PREORDER ─
Notes from our importer:
A little surprise this one! During my last trip the exporter had gotten a parchment delivery and piled other coffees on top of this beauty. I cupped it, and to my pleasant surprise the most blackcurrant like coffee of the 1000 cups I had tasted. [This] The only single cooperative, single station in all of Nyeri and Kirinyaga. One to look out for in the future!
Gakuyuini is a factory [wet mill] sitting on the slopes of mount Kenya, and takes advantage of the fertile volcanic soil in this area, and the elevations ranging from 1600 - 1700 meters above sea level. Gakuyini is only 1.5 hours from Nairobi, demonstrating just how close the typical coffee growing areas of Kenya are to the city. the membership here is quite spread between male and females, with 674 female farmers and 879 male farmers.
Varietals: The smallholders mainly have SL 28, SL 34 and Ruiru 11.
Grade: AA, AB and PB refers to the bean size.
Production process: Cherries are hand sorted for unripes and over-ripes by the farmers before they go in to production. A disc 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 16-24 hours under closed shade. After fermentation the coffees are washed and again graded by density in washing channels and are then soaked under clean water from the Gatomboya stream 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.
Kenya mainly produces fully washed coffees, and is considered by many as the world’s number one quality producer. There are more than 700,000 coffee farmers (smallholders) representing about 55% of the production. The rest is mostly Estates.
FARMING AND PRODUCTION
The Cooperative Societies are the umbrella organization for one or several wetmills. Typically you have the Thirikwa society that represents the wet mill Gakuyuin. The wet mills in Kenya are called Factories, e.g. Gakuyuini Factory .
A typical wet mill can have about 1000 farmers delivering cherries. They give a small advance payment at delivery. The better and well-managed wet mills are able to give more than 85% of the sales price back to the farmers after the cost of milling and marketing are deducted....
Whenever we have found a coffee and want to commit, we will have the marketing agent negotiate the price directly with the producers (in our case the Cooperative Society as we normally buy from the smallholders cooperatives).
The good thing with the system in Kenya is that everything is more or less separated into small lots and different grades. If you buy coffees direct through the second window, the producers expect to get prices above the average auction prices at present time. In addition the system is transparent as everybody knows what’s going back to the society after cost of milling and marketing is deducted.
In fact many of the more serious Societies and factories are competing, getting cherries in from the same areas, and are putting effort and pride in giving the best payback to their farmers. Some of the Coops we work with have been able to pay up to 90% back to the farmers.
─ PREORDER ─ Roasting on October 30 ─ PREORDER ─
Roasting and Shipping Schedule:
Coffee is roasted on Wednesdays. If you order anytime up until 12pm (noon) Tuesday, we will roast the next day and ship on Thursday. Orders received after 12pm (noon) Tuesday may not get roasted until the following week. If we have extra inventory, we will ship ASAP.
Email us: shippingwoes (at) vibrantcoffeeroasters.com if you have questions about when your order will be roasted and/or shipped.