ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE COFFEES FROM LAST YEAR, WE’RE THRILLED TO REINTRODUCE A JUICY AA LOT FROM THE KARIMIKUI FACTORY INTO OUR FILTER COFFEE LINE-UP.
Several hundred smallhold farmers in the villages of Kiamugumo, Githure and Gituba deliver their coffee cherries to the Karimikui factory, some by foot, some on motorbike and some by ox-drawn carts. The farmers attend agricultural seminars held by the Rungeto Farmers’ Co-operative Society (FCS) year-round, and are provided access to fertilisers with the aim of helping them to sustain and improve their coffee production.
The Washing Station
The coffee cherries are first sorted through by hand for under- or over-ripe cherries, and then floated to sort by density before depulping. After depulping, they are fermented for up to 24 hours. The washing stage is then done by periodically introducing clean water from the nearby Nyamindi river into the tanks and stirring the coffee, before sluicing away the dissolving fruit mucilage layers.
Once squeaky clean the coffee is moved to a soaking tank to sit in fresh water for another 24 hours before it goes out to dry on raised beds. This can take between 12 and 20 days, depending on the weather conditions. The water used in processing is treated in two large soak pits before it makes its way back into the local water table, to break down the sugars, acids and particulates that accumulate during coffee processing.
The Farmers’ Co-operative society
The Karimikui Coffee Washing Station (CWS) is run by the Rungeto FCS. They also oversee Kii CWS and Kiangoi CWS, from whom we’ve cupped many delicious coffees over the years. The region, Ngariama, was previously home to one of the largest FCS in Kenya, called Ngiriama FCS. It was liquidated in 1996 which allowed smaller FCS to snap up their assets, like Rungeto taking over Karimikui, Kii and Kiangoi.
As well as processing coffee cherries the FCS has created job opportunities and improved the local community’s infrastructure by opening a fuel station and a dairy cooling facility. Some of the smallholder coffee farmers who deliver coffee cherries also have cattle, and so can sell their milk to the dairy.
Impeccable processing and drying conditions, coupled with predominantly SL28 & SL34 varieties grown in volcanic soils in a cool climate makes for an excellent expression of Kenya’s Kirinyaga county, with lots of tart red fruits and sweetness in the cup.