This exceptional coffee is grown from the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains in the central highlands of Kenya, just south of the Equator. The coffee variety is known as SL28 and once processed has the appearance of bourbon coffees. Coffee at Kiriaini is wet Processed. Red ripe cherry is picked from the fields. This is then pulped immediately and fermented to remove the mucilage. When fermentation is complete the parchment is washed with clean water, graded and spread onto raised beds for drying. While sun drying all defective beans are removed by hand.
The owner Mrs Rakeli Njeri Njoroge has devoted most of her life to coffee farming shaving worked her land since the 1960s and is nowadays training her daughter Jane Njoroge in the skills of coffee farming. This small estate is typical of those in the area and has devoted some of the land to the production of tea and bananas along with a small area for growing the family vegetables and the rearing of livestock. Kiriaini is located in Gatanga in the Thika District, north east of Nairobi and stands at an altitude of 1,700 metres above sea level. The
coffee variety is SL28.
The coffee is handpicked and delivered to the wet mill (factory) where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature ‘mbuni’s (floaters) using water flotation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24 hours. This soaking process allows amino acids and proteins in the cellular structure of each bean to develop which results in higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup – it is thought that this process of soaking contributes to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are so famed for.
The beans are then transferred to the initial drying tables where they are laid in a thin layer to allow around 50% of the moisture to be quickly removed. This first stage of drying can last around 6 hours before the beans are gathered and laid in thicker layers for the remaining 5-10 days of the drying period. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised cells made of chicken wire which allows the coffee to breathe fully. Coffee is traditionally sold through the country’s auction system, though recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world.
Farm – Smallholders, Kiriaini, Kenya
Altitude – 1,700 masl
Location – Gatanga – Thika district.
Preparation – Washed and sun-dried on African beds
Varierty – SL28