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The small region in Kirinyaga that the Karimkui mill serves, surrounding the village of Ngariama, is mainly a tea-growing area, so most of the coffee plant stock is rather new. The region is known for very high quality of both tea and coffee; being planted somewhat later than neighbouring regions means soils haven’t been tired out by years of conventional agriculture, with its sprays and chemical fertiliser. We visited the region in January 2022, witnessing the density of both coffee and tea plantation in the lush green landscape. North Eastern Kirinyaga is home to some of our favourite Kenyan coffees; Karimikui is run by the Rungeto Farmer’s Cooperative Society, who also own the Kii and Kiangoi mills, where we have purchased several lots in the past. Also near to Ngariama are Gakuyuini, and the new Long Miles project. Much of the area was planted with coffee just before the rise of hybrid varietals in Kenya, which means that 99% of the farmers that deliver to Kii grow SL28 and SL34, with only about 1% using rust-resistant varietals like Ruiru 11 or Batian. The Rungeto cooperative’s cherry selection, fermentation, sorting and separation is of incredibly high quality, leading to excellent coffee. The cherries are first depulped mechanically, as soon as they arrive at the factory. The cherries should arrive for depulping as soon as possible after picking, hence why cooperatives make a great effort to have factories located close to concentrations of smallholders. After depulping, the seeds are covered in a layer of sticky fruity pulp, or mucilage. The seeds are fermented in large tanks for between 12 and 24 hours, breaking the mucilage down to a point that it can be thoroughly ‘washed’ away, using long washing channels. Then, before drying, the seeds are taken to another set of fermentation tanks, and fermented again under water, normally for a shorter time, between 10 and 12 hours.

Vegetal/Earthy/Herb

Licorice/Anise

Type

Single Origin

Origin

Kirinyaga, Kenya

Roast

Medium-Light

Species

Arabica

Varieties

Red Catuai, Gayo 1, Gayo 2

Process

Washed

Altitude

1800m

Producer

Rungeto Farmers Cooperative Society

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