This micro-lot Peaberry is grown by small-holder farmers of the Gichugene factory located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya in Meru County. This region enjoys abundant rainfall and mineral rich soils. Registered in the early 1950's, Gichugene is one of four wet mills managed by the Katheri Farmers Co-operative Society (FCS) that boasts a membership of 2,200 farmers. A managing 7-member board led by Gichunge Ikiara is committed to high standards of farming, processing and storing coffee. Active members of the board are required to produce 1,oo0 kgs plus of coffee and member farmers are trained to prune coffee trees, test the soil's pH level and apply organic manure. In early October 2017, the society was conducting training seminars to educated its farmers on how to use the newly acquired soil testers donated by the Meru County Coffee Union. Gichugene's effort reflect a need to improve quality and pricing for its members. This comes at a precarious time when Meru farmers are abandoning coffee for tea in search for better and frequent returns. To that end, Gichugene is pursuing a UTZ certification to improve pricing for its members' sustainable-grown coffees.
Producer: Small-holder Farmers | Gichugene Factory
Region: Katheri Town . Meru County . Kenya
Variety: SL28 . SL34 . Ruiru 11
Harvest Season: September - January | 2018 - 2019
Rain Season: March - May | October - December
Altitude: 1,650-1,850 meters
Soil: Friable Volcanic Loam
Process: Fully-Washed | Dried on Raised-Beds
Members of the Gichugene 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.