The Githiru Farmers’ Cooperative Society is composed of 840 farmers, 272 of whom are women, who have organized around the Githiru Factory where the coffee is processed. These smallholders generally manage half acre plots averaging 250 coffee trees. The coffee they produce is washed processed, where the fully ripe cherries are pulped, fermented and washed to finally be dried slowly over 2-3 weeks where the moisture content is reduced to 10-12%.
Nyeri County, where the cooperative is located, has cool temperatures and fertile central highlands, lying between the Eastern base of the Aberdare (Nyandarua) Range. One of the characteristics of this region are red volcanic soils rich in phosphorus and well drained. Thanks to these characteristics most of the coffee produced in Nyeri develops and matures slowly producing extra dense and flavorful beans. This quality is also evident in the cup which is why Nyeri is traditionally known as the heart of Kenya’s black gold coffee.
Region: Nyeri County
Farmer: Githiru Farmers’ Cooperative Society - 840 farmers with 272 being women, all small stakeholders
Variety: SL28, SL34
We Taste: Blackberry, Date, Tamarind
Roast Level: Light (Agtron: 72)
We visited both the Rukira washing station (“factory”) and
the Othaya Society’s Dry Mill and Cupping lab, hosted throughout by Newton
Ndiritu one of the brightest coffee personalities in Kenya. Newton is both the
factory chairman at the Rukira factory with approximately 560 members and the
chairman of the entire Othaya Society (which comprises about 15,000 farmer
members across several other factories).
Newton has raised the bar for his fellow member farmers at
Rukira in a few ways. By using best-practice pruning methods and appropriate
amounts of fertilizers he’s been able to increase the yield from around 5kg per
tree to around 23 kg per tree, thereby showing a way to make farming coffee
sustainable in the long-term. He’s smoothed the path for construction of the
Othaya society’s own dry mill, which has helped control the quality all the way
to our roastery. The dry mill also includes a state-of-the-art cupping lab, the
best cupping lab our coffee buying team has seen at any society or factory. By
controlling the process and continuously cupping the coffee, Rukira (and some
other factories at Othaya) consistently turn out some of Kenya’s best coffees.
The Rukira AA placed third in the Taste of Harvest competition this year, and
we think you’ll enjoy it tremendously!