Micro Lots - Kenya

Farm - Kiawamaruru, Gaturiri, Kagumoini and Gatomboya cooperatives.

Altitude - 1600 - 1800m above sea level

Location - Central Province close to Nyeri, foothills of mount Kenya, Aberdares.

Preparation - Washed and sun dried on African beds

Varietal - LS28 & LS34

Owners - Cooperative members

Harvest - October to December - main crop

Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity". In the Great Rift Valley palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man's ancestors. Kenya’s topography is incredibly diverse.

The country is a land of mountains, valleys, open plains, deserts, forests, lakes, savannahs and a golden sanded coastline. With its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Kenya is one of Africa's major safari destinations.

Coffee was introduced to Kenya by the British with seeds from neighbouring Ethiopia and also from Reunion (Bourbon) island. The development of hybrids during the 1950s brought about the highly successful varietals, SL28 and SL34 – coffees that are now world famous and highly admired for their wonderful complexity in the cup with unrivalled lemony acidity.

The country’s best coffees are grown in the Central Highlands on the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya to the north and in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains to the west. Here the coffee is grown on farms with altitudes of up to 1,800 metres above sea level - and this, along with the fertile volcanic soils of the region, is the key to the almost unbelievable flavours that can be found within the cup.

The best coffees in Kenya are produced by the cooperatives of which there are around 300 comprised of between half a million to 600,000 smallholder members. About 60% of Kenya’s coffee is produced on cooperatives with estates and plantations making up the balance. Typically a smallholding or ‘shamba’ is comprised of shade-grown coffee, a house, the family cow and a good variety of vegetables and fruit for the use of the family.

The coffee is handpicked and delivered to the cooperative ‘factory’ where it is pulped, washed and sundried on African drying tables. Parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill where it will be prepared for export before being sold via the country’s auction system. 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. It is this system we have chosen for our Falcon Speciality offering since we believe it brings about better returns for the smallholder.

The grades of Kenyan coffee – AA, AB, PB etc. are referencing the size of the bean according to screen size and don’t necessarily always correlate with the profile of the cup. It is perfectly normal to cup an AB that is streets ahead of an AA since that example may have come from a better farm.

The country’s location on the equator allows for two harvests per year – the main harvest in October to December and a second ‘fly crop’ in April to June. Generally speaking the better coffees come from main crop though the fly crop can produce some really lots.

Gatomboya

Gatomboya is a factory / secondary cooperative of the Barichu FCS Society and is situated on the slopes of the Mount Kenya and Aberdares mountains in the Central Province. It is comprised of around 698 members. The region has red volcanic loam soils and good rainfall. SL28 and 34 are grown under shade of Gravellea, Macadamia and Eucalyptus. Smallholders also grow tea, maize, beans, bananas and vegetables.

Gatomboya Factory has several initiatives aimed at uplifting the living standards of its members and employees. These include: Credit facilities for school fees and medical emergencies, provision of farm inputs on credit and field days to train farmers on better farming methods. Our micro-lot is an AB grade.

Cupping Profile

Acidity:         8.5 - 9 - incredible acidity. Bright & lemony.

Sweetness:  8.5 - 9 - Very good sweetness.

Character:    8.5 - 9 - Lemons, grapefruit, blackcurrants & butter.

Body:            8 - 9 - Plenty of body.

Balance:       8 - 8 - A spikey coffee at medium but balance can be created in the roast.