This superb micro-lot is grown by the small-holder farmers of the Keera wet mill in Kisii County, a mountainous region of western Kenya best known for its bananas and soap stone trade. Famed for evergreen farms, Kisii arguably records one of the highest rainfalls in the country thanks to its positioning in the Lake Victoria lake basin and the heavily foliaged Kisii Highlands. With its mild climate, fertile land and picturesque undulating hills, this catchment resembles the Jamaica Blue Mountains.
Coffee production in Kisii has been on a steady decline as farmers focus on subsistence agriculture, replacing coffee trees with food crops. At the same time, co-operatives are struggling with heavy loans and failing machinery. On the contrary, Keera sets the example. This sustainably-focused factory under the Morumba society educates its 2,500 plus members on best farming practices and extends credit for farm inputs.
Farmer: Small-holders |Keera co-op
Region: Kisii County, Kenya
Variety: SL28 . SL34 . Blue Mountain
Harvest Season: September - January |2018 - 2019
Rainy Season: February - June | September - December
Altitude: 1,800 - 1,950 meters
Soil: Friable Volcanic Loam
Process: Fully-Washed | Dried on Raised-Beds
Factory manager Edward Ochieng heads the processing of about 30 tons of cherries annually. Members deliver their selectively hand-picked ripe cherries daily to the mill's collection station where they are hand-sorted to remove damaged and under-ripe cherries. Cherries are then de-pulped and double fermented with periods of intermittent washing and soaking using fresh water from the River Gucha. Washed coffee is moved to pre-drying tables to drain excess water and later spread on permanent raised-beds where they are covered during the hottest part of the day to allow even drying. Dried coffee is delivered to a centralized mill, the Gusii Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, where it is hulled, polished, sorted and graded.