The Kiriani processing station from which we got our first washed coffee from Kenya this year is located in Kiriani village. It is owned by the Thikagiki cooperative and was established in 1974. As you can guess it was named after the village where it is located.
The station has become a hub for 571 farmers who supply their coffee for processing. Thikagiki members have access to many services including cherry processing and selling finished coffees in parchment. Farmers hand-pick ripe red cherries and deliver them the same day to Kiriaini. A worker oversees all cherries upon receipt ensuring that only the highest quality cherries are accepted. They are then crushed and fermented in tanks for 12 to 16 hours. After fermentation the parchment chips are washed in clean water and placed on raised beds to dry. The grains are frequently raked to ensure even drying.
You can look forward to a flavourfully unusual Kenya. While the blackcurrant aroma remains but the flavour is dominated by notes of apricot, sweet fruit candies and Darjeeling. In short. A coffee perfect for hot summer days.
Coffee growing in Kenya:
Farmers supplying Kiriaini mainly grow SL28 and SL34 in small coffee gardens that average about 200 trees. The ‘SL’ varieties are cultivars originally released by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL) in the 1930s and 1940s. They soon became the trees of choice for many growers in Kenya due to their deep root structure, which allows them to make the most of limited water resources and thrive without irrigation. They are grown with serious attention to sustainability and good agricultural practices where possible with minimal impact on the environment.
Batian is a relatively new variety introduced in 2010 by the Kenya Coffee Research Institute (CRI). Batian is named after the highest peak of Mount Kenya and is resistant to both CBD and CLR. The variety has the added advantage of early maturity – harvesting after just two years. Like Batian, Ruiru 11 is a new variety known for its disease resistance and high yields. It also begins to bear fruit after two years.
Kenya’s Murang’a region:
We have become very fond of the coffees from the Murang’a region in recent years. You may remember for example the coffee from Kahunyo washing station which we had in offer during this spring. Murang’a lies in south of Nyeri and extends into the gentle slopes of the Aberdare Mountains on its western border. The fertile red volcanic soil provides ample nutrients for growing trees while the warm day and cooler night temperatures create the best environment for slow cherry development and the accumulation of as much sugar as possible. Farms in the region are usually small and farmers grow coffee on small plots of land alongside other food crops.