Bold Blackcurrant up front with Vanilla sweetness and a zesty citrus acidity. Well balanced sweetness with dark chocolate finish.
PRODUCER: Othaya Farmers Co-operative Society
MILL: Kiruga Wetmill
REGION: Nyeri (Othaya constituency)
FARMERS: 633 (456 men & 173 women)
PROCESSING: Fully washed
GRADE: PB (peaberry)
ALTITUDE: 1,700 masl
RAINFALL: 1,326mm per annum (avg)
VARIETAL: SL28, SL34, Batian & Ruiru 11
SOIL: Well drained red volcanic soils rich in phosphorus
HARVEST: October - January
Kiruga wetmill is part of Othaya Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited, one of a few washing stations or “factories” that form the coop group based in the heartland of Kukuyu territory, Nyeri. The mill processes coffee cherries sourced from over 600 farmers. The total farmed area is 116.6 acres with individual trees yielding between 5 & 10kg of cherries per season, though drought during the 2016/17 crop has led to much lower yields in many of the coffee producing regions of Kenya.
The coffee is wet processed, where the fully ripe cherries are:
- Fermented for 12 - 48 hours (depending on climatic conditions)
- Dried slowly over 2 - 3 weeks on raised African beds until the moisture content is reduced to 10-12%.
The coffee is then processed at Othaya dry mill where it is rested in parchment for 3 weeks before being hulled, cleaned and graded by bean size. Finally, the coffee is carefully handpicked before being bagged in GrainPro for export from Mombasa.
Most of the coffee grown in this area is of the SL28 and SL34 varietals. Both cultivars have Bourbon and Moka heritage and are named after the laboratory that promoted their wider distribution in Kenya during the early 20th century – Scott Laboratories, now the National Agricultural Laboratories of Kenya.
Peaberry's - what's all the fuss about ?:
A peaberry (also called caracol, or "snail" in Spanish) is a natural mutation of the seed inside its cherry. Normally seeds develop two to a fruit, flat against each other like halves of a peanut, except in about 5% of the world's coffee where a seed is born an only child
Some consider Peaberry grades superior to normal grades from the same crop, on the basis that, in Peaberries, all the flavour compounds that ordinarily goes into a double bean goes into only one bean. Typically, the Peaberry is more buoyant and more brightly acidic, more complex in the upper aromatic ranges of the profile but somewhat lighter in body, than normally shaped beans. Others say not.
Because there's no way to tell from looking at the cherry itself whether there's a single or double-header inside, these little guys need to be hand-sorted after picking and processing in order to be sold separately. As a result, in many cases the peaberries are sold for alongside their normal counterparts. Occasionally, growers will hand-select the tiny mutants for special sale, sometimes at a premium, not only because of their taste, but also because of the amount of labor involved, as well as their relative rarity.