OUR ROASTERY IS CLOSED FOR SPRING VACATION • Last Roasting Date March 31st • Next Roasting Date April 11th
Terroir Best Lot
QUALITY SCORE: 88.75
Yellow Grapefruit / Lemon / Tomato / Mulberry
Suggested for espresso and filter
when we roast
We freshly roast to order all coffees on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding national holidays), and ship the same day! Cut-off time is 11:59pm (UTC+1) of the day before the roast day. *We only ship whole beans*
- Quality Score
- Terroir Best Lot
- Several Small Farmers
- 1600-1700 masl
- Kenya Washed (post soak)
- Arabica cultivar
- SL28 & SL34
- Picked in
- Dec 2021-Jan 2022
- Arrived in
- September 2022
- Shipped in
- Cartoon + Vacuum pack
- Roast profile by
- Rubens Gardelli
- Roasted on
- Customised solid-drum roaster
THE STORY BEHIND
This outstanding coffee showcases all the richness of Kenyan coffee tradition. It is an AB grade lot, rather than the more standard Kenya AA. Sorting in Kenya is done by bean size, and Kenya AA grade is granted to the biggest beans, just over one-fourth inch in diameter, while Kenya AB is slightly smaller. Most of the industry views AA as the gold standard, but we are more interested in the cup quality than the beans' visual appearance, and this coffee is one of the best of Kenyan washed lots in 2021-2022 harvest.
The Mutheka Farmers' Cooperative Society (FCS) consists of more than 6,000 active farmer members, and approximately 900 of them use the Kigwandi washing station (factory). The factory, which is part of the Mutheka FCS, uses hydroelectric power from the Kagumo River to run its operations. Smallholder farmers delivering cherry to the Kigwandi factory have an average of 207 coffee trees each and generally farm food crops alongside their small coffee plots.
At the Kigwandi Factory, cherries are collected from the farmers in the region and bulked together, and then fermented in tanks for 48 hours. Thereafter, the beans are soaked for the second, 24-hour fermentation. Once the mucilage is removed, the coffee parchment is taken to raised beds to dry for 2-3 weeks depending on the weather conditions. The double fermentation, often referred to simply as “Kenya Washed” contributes to incredible deep sweetness and complex acidity of this coffee.
SL28 was bred by Scott Laboratories in 1931 from Tanganyika D.R. It has become very popular throughout Kenya and is recognised as a variety of exceptional cup quality. It has wide leaves with coppery tips, and the beans are wide. At the same time, the productivity of SL28 is comparatively low. Though there is no sufficient proof, some sources claim that Scott Labs crossed mutations of French Mission, Mocha and Yemen Typica to produce SL 28. Whatever the exact genetic composition, their original goal almost certainly was to create a plant with high quality, reasonable productivity and great drought resistance.
SL 34 is a mutation of French Mission, originating from the plantation of Loresho in Kabete. SL34 has wide leaves with bronzy tips. It is widely grown throughout Kenya. SL34 is valued for its high productivity in different climate conditions and great height ranges. It is also claimed to be able to withstand drought and strong rainfall.
THE FERMENTATION PROCESS
Kenyan coffees are most often processed using a method called ‘double fermentation’, which is a variation of the washed processing method.
Almost all producers across Kenya only use this method, considered the best practice by many.
In the double fermentation processing method, farmers depulp the cherries immediately after harvest and place the mucilage-coated seeds in fermentation tanks, keeping the contact with water at the minimum, for 12 to 24 hours depending on the rate of fermentation.
The fermentation helps break down the mucilage, making it easier to remove, but also helps develop the mucilage’s latent fruit properties, imparting some of those properties into the coffee seed.
At this first stage, the fermentation is allowed to continue until most of the mucilage gets separated from the seed. The coffee is then flushed from the tanks into water channels, where the agitation helps to rinse and remove the loose mucilage, stopping the fermentation process. Seeds that are low density ‘floaters’ are also scooped off at this stage of the process, - this is one of many steps ensuring the consistently high quality of Kenyan coffee.
After the coffee has been cleaned, step one is repeated, and the coffee is left soaking in a secondary fermentation tank for other 12 to 24 hours. The fermentation gets restarted, but this time less sugar and fruit material is available. When this second stage is over, the coffee is once again run through water channels where any final residual mucilage is removed.
The coffee is then separated in lots, and the various lots are moved into their own water tanks where the coffees are soaked for additional 24 hours. Since the mucilage has been completely removed, and the coffee is soaking in significantly more water, it’s assumed that enzymatic activity in the coffee increases in this soaking tank, resulting in a strengthening of the amino acids and proteins present in the coffees.
The soaked beans are then taken out and placed on raised drying beds and spread to a depth of a couple of inches. The idea is to initially dry the coffee rapidly to drop the moisture content and reduce the risk of rotting. After this initial fast drying period, the coffee is heaped into 6 inch deep mounds and moves into a longer, slower stretch of drying to encourage long term quality of green beans. How long the coffee remains on the raised beds can vary greatly depending on temperature and weather but it needs to be constantly turned during this period to achieve even drying. Once the moisture of the coffee reaches around 11-12%, this essentially concludes the processing of Kenyan coffee. They are finally dry hulled, graded and prepped for export.