Producer:500 producers organized around Gatugi Factory
Region: Othaya, Nyeri County, Kenya
Elevation: 1,700 - 1,890 masl
Process: Double washed: Pulped, fermented, washed, and soaked for twelve hours. Dried on raised beds.
Varietal: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian
Mt. Kenya, at the helm of Kenya’s Central Province, is the second tallest peak on the continent of Africa and a commanding natural presence. The mountain itself is a single point inside a vast and surreal thicket of ascending national forest and active game protection communities. The central counties of Kenya extend from the center of the national park like six irregular pie slices, with their points meeting at the peak of the mountain. Many believe the best coffees in Kenya, often the world, are crafted in the wet, high elevation communities with mineral-rich soil that reside just along the lower edge of these forests.
Nyeri is perhaps the most well-known of these central counties. Kenya’s coffee is dominated by a cooperative system of production, whose members vote on representation, marketing and milling contracts for their coffee, as well as profit allocation.
Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society, the umbrella organization that includes Gatugi Factory, is one of Kenya’s larger societies, with 19 different factories and more than 14,000 farmer members across the southern Nyeri region. The Gatugi Factory has 500 members actively harvesting and delivering to the processing center. The factory’s total cherry intake tends to hover around 323,000 kgs, meaning the average member of Gatugi is farming enough coffee fruit for roughly two 60kg bags of exportable green.
Othaya Farmer Cooperative Society is one of key member societies of the Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE) organization. KCCE is an historic organization of almost 4,000 individual cooperatives. The group was formed in 2009 with the express goal of managing marketing and exporting operations internally and cooperatively, as opposed to contractually with third parties. The economics of smallholder systems are consistently difficult everywhere in the world, and in Kenya in particular the number of individual margins sliced off an export price before payment reaches the actual farms is many, leaving only a small percentage to support coffee growth itself. And most often this arrives many months after harvest. KCCE, by managing more of the value chain itself, can capture a greater margin on behalf of the farms.
Kenya is of course known for some of the most meticulous at-scale processing found anywhere in the world. Bright white parchment, nearly perfectly sorted by density and bulk conditioned at high elevations, is the norm, and a matter of pride even for generations of Kenyan processing managers who prefer drinking Kenya’s tea, which is abundantly farmed in nearby Muranga county. Ample water supply in the central growing regions has historically allowed factories to wash, and wash, and soak, and wash their coffees again entirely with fresh, cold river water.
Gatugi typically ferments for 27-35 hours depending on ambient conditions. For many processors, the changing mountain climate tends to dictate fermentation temperatures, and Gatugi staff are required to check fermentation progress every three hours. After fermentation, the parchment is rinsed, and the water replenished. Then, the clean parchment soaks for an additional 12 hours, after which it is sorted by density and brought to the tables to dry, typically for two weeks. After drying is complete the coffee is stored on site and eventually delivered to the Othaya dry mill for grading and a final density sort. The established milling and sorting by grade, or bean size, is a longstanding tradition and positions Kenya coffees well for roasters, by tightly controlling the physical preparation and creating a diversity of profiles from a single processing batch.
Charlie Habegger - Royal Coffee
Brew Guide - Kalita Wave Pour-over
This pourover recipe highlights the juicy acidity, heavy body and dense, intense sweetness that we're really loving about this coffee.
Coffee: 25 grams
Grind size: 3 on the Fellow Ode (medium-fine)
Water: 350 grams at 200˚F
Coffee to Water Ratio: 1:14
Brew Time: 2:30
1. Rinse filter
2. Add ground coffee
3. Start timer and saturate grounds with 50g water. Stir.
4. Let bloom 30 seconds.
5. Over the next 1 minute, slowly but constantly add water unitl you reach 320 grams. Pour in concentric circles from the middle of the brew bed to the edges making sure to evenly and fully saturate all of the grounds.
6. After all water is poured, give the brewer a little swirl. All water should draw down by 2:15.
7. After all water draws down, remove the filter from the brewer and add 30 grams fresh, hot water to the carafe. Give the carafe a good swirl to mix the coffee. Serve and enjoy!
Brew Guide - Espresso
This is such a great coffee on espresso. Like the best Kenyans, it's very big in all of its characteristics. Pull a decently wide ratio and use a fairly long extraction time to mute the acids just a bit while maintaining the thick, syrupy body, intense sweetness, juicy acidity and elegantly spicy, fruity and long-lasting aftertaste. We're loving it straight up but should be real great with milk too.
Brew ratio: 1:2.16
Coffee in: 18.5 grams (this can be modified depending on your portafilter size)
Coffee out: 40 grams (if using a different coffee dose than 18g then adjust your coffee out to match the brew ratio above)
Grind size: Fine
Extraction Time: 43 seconds
1. Grind, dose, groom, tamp.
2. Purge group.
3. Pull shot. Shot should start slow (flowing like warm honey) and dark (like burnt caramel) at beginning of extraction and speed up and become lighter in color (like amber) as the extraction progresses.
4. If shot pulls too quickly adjust the grind finer. If shot pulls too slowly adjust the grind coarser.
Because brewing can taste differently from machine to machine, if the method above does not give desired results then follow some general espresso rules to modify the extraction.
General espresso rules:
If your shot tastes too intense, pull more coffee out. (If using 18.5 grams in, try increasing your yield out to 42 or so grams).
If your shot is too weak, pull less coffee out. (If using 18.5 grams in, try decreasing your yield to 38 grams out).
You can also modify flavor by adjusting extraction times.
If your shot is sour, increase extraction time.
If your shot is bitter, decrease extraction time.