Kianderi is a co-operative of coffee producers located in the Kirinyaga district south of mount Kenya. We've been buying coffee from them since 2016 and this year we had to purchase and import the coffee entirely ourselves which presented a few interesting challenges!
Kianderi is a washing station linked to the larger Inoi co-operative. About 500 coffee producing farmers delivery their cherry to the washing station and are paid cash on delivery. Kenya coffee is usually produced by small hold farmers often with just a few hundred trees who will harvest from their trees every few days and deliver to a centralized collection point or washing station for processing.
Kenya is famous for its excellent SL28 and 34 varietals. These varietals date back to the 1930's and were selected for cultivation in Kenya as it was believed that they had great potential in the Kenya climate and volcanic soil. These two varietals produce coffees of very high quality with high yields and trees can continue to produce great coffee for many years, some Kenyan trees are over 60 years old and still productive. They are very susceptible to disease and this can be very challenging for farmers.
After harvesting coffee is delivered and farmers are paid in cash (usually followed by an end of season bonus) and coffee is prepared for processing. The coffee is first pulped and Kianderi use a long 48 hour extended dry fermentation method. After fermentation, the coffee is washed and graded in grading channels:
This grading method uses water to separate coffee based on density with better quality, heavy coffee sinking to the bottom. This will be kept separate and after washing will be transferred to raised drying tables:
During the drying stage coffee is often hand sorted to remove any further defects and covered during the day to protect the coffee from harsh direct sunlight. One the coffee has dried to about 12% moisture content it will be moved to a storage area and allowed to rest before being taken to the local dry mill for processing.
Dry milling operations in Kenya are very impressing and fitted with some of the best technology for size, density and quality sorting including the removal of defects. The incredible sorting is one of the things we love about Kenyan coffees!
The dry mill will separate the coffee into a wide range of different bean sizes. This particular lot is know as a Peaberry or PB. This means the coffee comes entirely from cherry that has just one single seed inside the fruit. Typically there will be two coffee beans inside the cherry but occasionally just a single bean will form.