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Kayu AB

Within the Murang’a County along the slopes of the Aberdare Range is the Kayu Factory, or wet mill. 1,931 smallholders in this region contribute coffee cherries to this mill and belong to the New Kiriti Farmers Co-operative Society.

Situated at 1,650 meters above sea level, this region is defined by its bright red soils, full of rich nutrients for coffee trees. The high altitude allows for ideal temperatures and rainfall for the slow maturation of coffee cherries. Smallholders in this region grow coffee on small plots of land and pick the cherries during harvest to deliver to the mill. There are two harvests in the Murang’a County, one occurring from March – May and another from October – December.

  • Farm Kayu Factory
  • Varietal Ruiru 11
  • Process Fully washed
  • Altitude 1,650 meters above sea level
  • Region Murang’a County
  • Owner 3,500 smallholder producers
  • Tasting Notes Red currents, blackberries and cranberries with florals notes
  • Farm Size 138 hectares in total
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Kayu AB

Once the cherries reach the mill, the coffee is washed with water from the Kagondo River. The water is pumped via a diesel engine into reservoir tanks. After the cherries are pulped, the coffee is placed in large tanks to soak in water and ferment. This allows for the breakdown of the exterior mucilage, normally lasting overnight. The coffee is then spread evenly on raised tables to dry in the open sun until a targeted moisture content is reached.

Producers and the Factory collectively value sustainability, and various projects have been enacted to reduce environmental impact. Wastewater used for processing is carefully placed into soak pits to seep back into the soil without polluting the local drinking source.

Ruiru 11 is used by all producers contributing cherries to the Kayu Factory. This varietal was developed by the Coffee Research Institute in 1985 to combat the spreading Coffee Leaf Rust and Coffee Berry Disease.

About Kenya

Despite its proximity to the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, coffee growing was introduced in Kenya relatively late – by Scottish missionaries, initially, and then commercially around 1900. Despite the late start, today, it is a country renowned for having some of the best coffees in the world. Nonetheless, Kenya’s coffee sector faces challenges for the future, and low global prices combined with climate change and population growth have diminished the country’s output over the last decade.