Another incredible community, another incredible coffee.
Karimikui is part of three factories that make up the Rungeto Farmers Co-op Society, a group originally established in 1953, now with over 3500 members. The red volcanic soil of the region standing at 1700-1900 metres above sea level, alongside the 1700-1900mm of annual rainfall provide the perfect climate for these farmers. Oddly enough, this area and its farmers are better known for tea than their coffee.
Kenya’s famed varietals
Known for their range of ‘SL’ varietals which were originally created by Scott Labs in the 1930s, these indigenous coffee varietals of Kenya are now grown in other parts of the world. In a similar vein to how Gesha has been successfully exported to parts of Central and South America (where SLs have also found themselves in various experiments), the SL varieties are certainly ones to watch out for in the burgeoning Asian coffee market. SL28 is found here (alongside SL34) which is a varietal most often used for higher altitudes and is known for its fruity complexity, with many claiming them to have the most valued cup quality — including us!
Cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go in to production. A disc pulping machine removes the skin and pulp. The coffees are graded by density in to 3 grades by the pulper. Grade 1 and 2 go separately to fermentation and anything less is considered low grade. The coffee is fermented for 16-24 hours under closed shade. After fermentation the coffees are washed and again graded by density in washing channels and are then soaked under clean water from the Gatomboya stream for 16-18 hours.
The coffee is then sun dried for up to 21 days on drying beds.
Long term goals
Our supplier for this coffee, Nordic Approach work hard to offer a long term strategy of trade with the people of these villages:
The long term goal is to increase coffee production through farmer training and input access, and Good Agricultural Practice seminars are conducted year round. The wish is to establish a transparent, trust based relationship with the smallholder farmer, helping to support a sustained industry growth in Kenya, whilst bringing premium quality to our customers, and premium prices to the farmers.
Can you taste it?
The SLs bring with a clarity in acidity and fruitiness that is unique to these varietals and somewhat unlike anything else. Like the Gathaiti from before, expect a more tea-like mouthfeel and clarity, with tasting notes mostly of lime, blackcurrant, and a hint of raspberry.