This sparkling AB-graded coffee is grown by small-holder farmers of the Kiangurwe factroy located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya in Meru County. This region enjoys abundant rainfall and mineral rich soils. Kiangurwe dates its history to 1951 when it was one of 15 factories under Nkuene Farmers Union. During the liberization movement in 1999 the factories were converted into co-operatives to empower farmers. Unfortunately, most societies failed due to poor leadership and fund embezzlement. To survive, Kiangurwe merged with Kaubau in 2005 to form the 800-member strong Uruku Farmers Co-operative Society (FCS).
In 2006, Kiangurwe retiled its soaking tanks and washing channels with the aim of improving processing quality and luring back members. In late October 2017, we toured this newly renovated wet mill and adjoining demonstration plot that showcases best farming practices to members. Board Chair David Muthomi is currently seeking financing from the Meru County Coffee Union for a new processing machine and drying beds. Kiangurwe's effort reflect a need to improve quality and pricing for its members' sustainable-grown coffee. This comes at a precarious time when Meru farmers are abandoning coffee for tea in search for better and frequent returns.
Producer: Small-holder Farmers | Kiangurwe Factory
Region: Ukuu Town . Meru County . Kenya
Varieties: SL28 . SL34
Harvest Season: September - January | 2018 - 2019
Rain Season: March - May | October - December
Altitude: 1,600-1,800 meters
Soil: Friable Volcanic Loam
Process: Fully-Washed | Dried on Raised-Beds
Members of the Kiangurwe factory deliver their selectively hand-picked ripe cherries daily to the mill's collection station where they are carefully hand sorted to remove damaged and under-ripe cherries. With quality enhanced, the cherries are de-pulped and double fermented with periods of intermittent washing and soaking using fresh water from the Kathita river. This major water source originates in the upper north-eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya and flows through the town of Meru, and finally into the Tana river. 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. Once dried the coffee is delivered to the Meru County Coffee Mill where it is hulled, polished, sorted and graded.