Blackcurrant, pink grapefruit and rosehip
Our first Kenyan of the 2020 season and we're starting with something special. The Gichathaini AA lot #072 was at the top of our import partners favourites of all it's Kenyan coffees this year. We were lucky enough to secure one 30Kg vac-pac so it won't be around for long.
The Gichathaini Factory (wetmill) is one out of three wet mills of the famous Gikanda Cooperative Society in Nyeri in Central Kenya. Gichathaini, Kangocho, Ndaroini Gikanda. Nordic Approach have been buying coffee from the Gikanda Farmers Cooperative since 2012. The Factory is Fairtrade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certified.
The Nordic Approach team scored this coffee a massive 88 points and gave it these notes: soft, sweet, classic blackcurrants, raspberries. Great red fruit, strawberry, raspberry, candy like, round, heavy, floral, vanilla, berry jam. OH YUM !
The factory itself is owned by the coffee farmers who deliver cherries to the station. There are currently 897 members, of which roughly 770 are active and sell their coffees through the factory.
Production: All coffees are pulped, dry fermented, washed and sundried
Most of the processing in Kenya is standardised, but some variation will occur depending on the management and their philosophy. Still, the below will count for most of the best performing coffees coming out of Kenya!
Farming and production
A typical wet mill can have about 1000 farmers with about 0.5 hectare of coffee each, delivering cherries. The coop/factory gives a small advance payment at delivery. The remaining payment will come after the coffee is sold at market. The better and well-managed wet mills are able to give more than 85% of the sales price back to the farmers. That’s after the cost of milling and marketing is deducted.
Is done at the wet mills or at collection centers. When the farmers arrive at the place for delivery they would normally have to empty their bags on the floor (on a cover) to sort out unripe, overripe and CBD infected cherries.
When they start the pulper the cherries go by gravity in to the machine.
They normally use disc pulpers such as old three disc Agaarde or similar brands. The parchment flows from the discs with water allowing the parchment to be separated by density. The densest beans will sink and are pumped straight through a channel to the fermentation tank as P1 (parchment 1 and is what we generally are buying.
After pulping, the coffees are dry fermented (water is drained off) in painted concrete tanks. Normally they are fermented for 18-36 hours. Many factories do intermediate washing every 6 – 8 hours, meaning they add water, stir up the parchment and drain it again.
Washing and soaking
When fermentation is completed and the mucilage is dissolved the parchment gets washed in washing channels and graded again by density. The lighter beans will float off and the remaining dense parchment will normally be soaked in clean water up to 24 hours.
Drying and conditioning
After soaking, the coffees are skin dried at hessian mesh mats for skin drying up to one day. After a day the coffees are moved to the traditional drying tables. The coffee is then normally dried on a surface of jute clothing or shade net on top of the wire mesh.
The drying time varies between 12 and 20 days depending on weather and rainfall.