Factory – Ther’i
Altitude – 1850 masl
Location – Murarandia, Kahuro Division, Murang’a districti, Central Province
Preparation – Washed, sun dried on African beds
Variety – SL28
Owners – Cooperative members
The Kenyan coffee factory, Ther’i, is located in Murarandia near to the Murang’a town in Murang’a district. It serves the Karii, Therii, Kiaheho, Nduruini, Kambara and Matheri villages and is currently affiliated to the New Murarandia Farmers Co-op Society along with the Gatuya and Murarandia factories. There are 650 active members of the Ther’i factory which is managed by Elizabeth Wanjiku along with 9 permanent staff members. Smallholder members each have on average around 1 acre of land for coffee growing alongside macadamia, beans, banana and maize. The area has rich and fertile red volcanic soil at altitudes of 1850 metres above sea level. Smallholder members of this cooperative have access to training and technical advice along with advance payments for farm inputs.
This Kenyan coffee is hand-picked by the smallholder members and delivered to the Ther’I factory where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature ‘mbuni’s (floaters) using water floatation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24 hours. This soaking process allows amino acids and proteins in the cellular structure of each bean to develop which results in higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup – it is thought that this process of soaking contributes to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are so famed for. The beans are then transferred to the initial drying tables where they are laid in a thin layer to allow around 50% of the moisture to be quickly removed. This first stage of drying can last around 6 hours before the beans are gathered and laid in thicker layers for the remaining 5-10 days of the drying period. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised cells made of chicken wire which allows the coffee to breathe fully.
Kenyan coffee is traditionally sold through the country’s auction system, though recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world. It is this system we have chosen for our importers, Falcon Speciality, have offered since we believe it brings about better returns for the smallholder.
Expect our Kenyan coffee, Ther’i AB, to deliver bright lemon acidity with great sweetness, good body and a prominent blackberry character.