Region: Murang’a County
Producer: Kahete Coffee Factory
Altitude: 1800 masl
Kahete Coffee Factory was founded in 1984 and rests on 5 hectares of land serving the villages of Karunge, Gataragwa and Kirimiya. It is currently affiliated with the Rwaikamba Farmers Cooperative Society and is run by John Muchiri Mwangi.
Kahete buys its coffee berries from 600 small farmers, member producers, whose farms are located on average 1800 meters above sea level. This high altitude makes the coffee berries ripen more slowly. High altitude, combined with rich volcanic soil and careful cultivation help to highlight the inherent complex fruit flavors of the varieties SL-28 and SL-34. Both varieties are inherited from Bourbon and Moka and are named after the laboratory that promoted their wider distribution in Kenya during the early 20th century, Scott Laboratories.
After careful hand-picking, the ripe coffee berries are taken to the factory by the farmers, where they are weighed and then processed using the washed processing method. Using a slicer with three sets of slices, the peel and fruit are removed from the inner parchment layer that protects the green coffee bean. Water used in processing is disposed of in soaking pits and recycled for preservation. After that, the coffee is left to ferment overnight to break down the sugar, before it is cleaned and soaked for another 24 hours.
This process increases the proteins and amino acids, which in turn increases the complexity, acidity and clarity of the cup. After soaking, the coffee is spread on the raised drying tables. The time on the drying tables depends on the climate, ambient temperature and volumes during processing and can take from 7 to 15 days in total.
The area around Kahete is densely populated, so the factory has a strong focus on minimizing the potential impact and ensuring that local watercourses remain clean and unpolluted. In line with this, the factory has dug waterways away from the water source where used water has a chance to re-enter the soil.