This coffee is from the Nyeri county; one of the most well-known coffee producing regions in Kenya. This area is nestled between the Mt. Kenya and Aberdare ranges, just east of the Great Rift Valley. The white peaks of Mt. Kenya shine brightly throughout the Nyeri county, so much so that the Kikuyu, a large ethnic group in Kenya, call the peak the ‘Mountain of Whiteness.’ With rich, red volcanic soils, abundant rainfall and delicate but warm temperatures – Nyeri is an ideal place for coffee production.
Situated on the western slopes of Mt. Kenya, the Gichathaini Factory, or wet mill, is one of three mills working with smallholder producers from the Gikanda Farmers’ Cooperative Society. Roughly 770 active members contribute coffee to the Factory from their small plots of 1 hectare or less. A representative from the Factory sits on the Gikanda Management Committee in order to aid with decision-making surrounding production, processing, and the overall wellbeing of the producers and community.
When harvest time arrives, each producer will carefully handpick the coffee, selecting only the ripe cherries. Kenya typically has two crops which include an early, or fly crop, harvested from June to August and the main or late crop, which is harvested from October to March, mainly from farms at higher altitudes. As soon as producers finish picking their cherries, they are bagged and transported to the wet mill on the same day. The cherries are then de-pulped to remove the exterior fruit. The remaining parchment is fermented in tanks filled with water from the local Ragati River. Fermentation allows for the breakdown of the exterior mucilage.
Once complete, the coffee is then spread evenly on raised beds to dry in the open sun. After drying is finished, the coffee is hulled by the Highlands Coffee Company and bagged to be prepared for export. The coffee will either be sold directly or at the Nairobi Coffee Auction.
Conservation is important at the Gichathaini Factory, especially regarding water usage. The water used from the Ragati River is transported via gravity-fed channels to reduce environmental impact. During processing, the water is re-circulated to prevent overextraction of river water. After processing is complete, the water is transferred to soak pits, away from drinking water sources to prevent contamination. This allows for the water to purify naturally before being re-introduced into the system.
Screen sizing in Kenya
The “AA” in the name refers to the sorting of the beans. “AA” is the largest sized bean followed by the more medium size “AB” and finally the smaller size is referred to as “PB” or peaberry.
Region: Gichathaini Wet Mill, Nyeri County, Kenya
Variety: SL28, SL34, Ruiru11 and Batian
Altitude: 1,600 - 1,900 M.A.S.L
This coffee is roasted for filter; and is recommended for brewing using the V60, Kalita, Mugen or other drip / immersion coffee makers.