This coffee comes to us from the Gachatha Coffee Factory in Nyeri, where I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon on my last visit to Kenya.
The factory (as washing stations are known in Kenya) was built in 1963 by the Gachatha Farmer’s Co-operative Society (FCS). The society’s membership currently sits at around 1,000 farmers who grow, pick, and deliver their coffee to the factory for processing.
On visiting, it was great to gain insight into how the society’s management worked to preserve coffee quality in processing, but it was especially enlightening to see the commitment to farmer support and training that the society undertook.
Beyond providing the infrastructure for processing, the co-op provides farmers with support, training, education and access to farming materials, allowing them to strive for better quality and farming practices. This structure encourages growth and improved quality, resulting in the high quality coffees this region is known for, in turn generating higher value of the coffee on the market and returning better prices to the farmers.
Cherries are brought to the coffee factory by local smallholder farmers where they’re pulped using a 3 disc pulper, removing the skin and fruit from the parchment layer inside. They’re then dry fermented overnight before being washed and density-graded in channels, before then being brought out to dry on raised beds.
The area surrounding the coffee factory is densely populated, so extra care is taken not to contaminate local waterways with runoff, as they’re the main source of drinking water for local residents. Instead, water is treated in soak pits and recirculated through the factory wherever possible.
Coffees from this factory are routinely excellent, and as such, are in high demand from buyers around the world, so we feel lucky to have managed to secure a few bags from one of the best Kenyan lots we’ve tasted in recent years.
For us, Gachatha is a great representation of not just Kenyan coffee but specifically the berry-forward and concentrated style that the Nyeri region is known for and we’re really pleased to have been able to secure a small amount of this exceptional lot.