Kenya – Gakuyu-ini AB

Gakuyu-ini Coffee Factory is a 35 year old coffee factory in Central Province, Kirinyaga District in Kenya. The factory serves small-holder farmers from Githiru, Gituba and Gichugu Divisions and is a part of over fifty year old Thirikwa Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd. Thirikwa Coop has over 1600 members from which around 40% are women. Due to it’s large size the coop has built two extra collection centres for Gakuyu-ini factory. This has helped a great deal in reaching the more remote farms.

The farms reach altitudes around 1700 m.a.s.l. and cultivate mostly SL28 & 34 as well as some Ruiru11. The area collects most of its water supply between March-May when the long rains fall. There’s two harvest times with early harvest running from April to June and late harvest from October-December. During harvest times farmers hand pick the coffee cherries carefully when they reach the desired level of ripeness.

The farmers then deliver their cherries to the factory or the collection centres. Here the first step is sorting the and cleaning. A trained team separates the cherries according to their ripeness and color before moving them on to pulping. After pulping coffee cherries need to ferment for about 24 hours before washing and second fermentation cycle. All this is followed by another washing cycle and soaking before the squeaky clean beans hit the skin drying beds for one morning and from there to raised drying beds for about 8 to 12 days. The drying process is carefully controlled. Beans are covered for the night to avoid humidity and protected with shade nets during the hottest periods. Due to this impeccable standard of processing, flavor profiles of Kenyan coffees are as perceptible as anything we know.

Gakuyu-ini factory is making several initiatives in order to respond to raising awareness on the need to conserve the environment. Such as waste water soak pits that let the waste water to percolate back into the soil, usage of compost manure and planting new trees on their farms. The farmers pay a lot of attention to cultivation methods and try to avoid inorganic fertilisers by applying compost and farmyard manure.

Screen Sizing in Kenya

Grading Kenyan coffee beans is done by separating and rating them by bean size as well as shape, collar and density. This is all done with the general assumption being that bigger coffee beans are higher in quality.

There’s all together 13 grades for Kenyan coffee. But only 4 in which coffee most likely has the potential of being considered specialty; AA, AB, PB and E. AA grade consists of beans with no defects and no visual marks and the screen size of 18-19 mm. Consequently AB has the screen size of 16-17mm. PB means peaberry with one single coffee bean within the cherry rather than the usual two half beans. E (Elephant) graded beans consist of the largest Kenyan beans meeting the screen size of 20mm and have a genetic visual defect causing two beans to join in one cherry. When these beans part during processing there is a noticeable ear on each bean.

Danny Moreno – Honduras

FLAVOR NOTES:
GREEN APPLE, RIPE BERRIES, TROPICAL FRUITS

Farm : La Sierra
Owner : Danny Moreno
Variety : Pacas

Process : Washed
Region : Santa Barbara
Micro Region : El Cedral
Altitude (masl) : 1550m
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Danny is one of the seven brothers in the famous specialty coffee family, the Morenos. He and his brothers followed in their father’s foot steps into coffee farming. The brothers have since then really showed their dedication, resourcefulness and passion. Within the first few years of turning their business to specialty coffee they reached the fourth place in the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition. After that they have consistently been within the top ten contestants. In the recent years their somewhat coffee dynasty has grown with the new generation joining in to the family business.

It takes a unique kind of people to come from a humble background and make coffee cultivation a sustainable business for your family. It is not typically smallholder producers with family histories of small-scale agriculture that are the most successful coffee farmers and this is because it is incredibly challenging to first, consistently cultivate and produce the highest quality coffee and have access to a loyal customer base, and then on top of this, have the education and knowledge to speak quality at the same level as the buyer. The Morenos are in this extraordinary category of coffee producers. Their sustained top position is a result of a mixture of ambition, long-term planning, understanding what their market is looking for, and constant reevaluation and tweaking of agronomic, harvesting and processing techniques.

The family members work very closely together. Each one running their own farms and collectively owning their wet mill. All of the lots have unique processing methods and thus unique cupping notes.

Santa Barbara region

Santa Barbara is one of the biggest coffee producing regions and also the birthplace of most characteristic coffees in Honduras. In fact you can find several producers from this region every year on the list of the Cup of Excellence award winner farms.

It is challenging to process coffee in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. In addition at high altitudes the temperatures can drop to 4-5°C adding the risk of freezing and the steep slopes make it difficult to pick the cherries. These risks can be minimised by ingenious drying processes and when these processes are precisely controlled, the seemingly problematic factors are in fact what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. As a result the coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Dolmin Moreno – Honduras

FLAVOR NOTES:
WHITE GRAPES, FLORAL, DRIED FRUITS

Farm : La Quebrada
Owner : Dolmin Moreno
Variety : Pacas

Process : Washed
Region : Santa Barbara
Micro Region : El Cedral
Altitude (masl) : 1550-1600
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Dolmin Moreno is the youngest generation of farmers in the famous Moreno family, following in the foot steps of his grandfather Daniel, father Miquel and his six uncles. Morenos have become somewhat of a coffee farming dynasty in Santa Barbara, and as a result inspiring many of their neighbours to do specialty coffee. The family members place regularly in the top contestants on the Cup of Excellence competition and within the few years Dolmin has been managing his own farm this almost 30-years old coffee producer has already showed his aptitude for coffee farming by placing twice to the top 20 in Honduran CoE.

Moreno family’s path to specialty coffee

Dolmin’s grandfather, Daniel Moreno – patriarch of the Moreno family – wanted to give up coffee farming around 10 years ago. At this point, the sons had all moved to the US to work and earn a better living. In 2005 Moreno’s neighbour, Mr Benitez won the Honduras Cup of Excellence. He was unable to make it to the ceremony and therefore asked Dolmin’s father to accept the prize for him. Therefore opening Miguel’s eyes to the world of specialty coffee. He then managed to convince his father and whole family not to give up on coffee farming but instead put great efforts in producing quality coffee. Already two years later the Moreno family submitted their first coffees to the CoE competition with Miguel’s lot placing 4th and scoring 90.6 points.

Nowadays the family has bought more land at higher altitudes and decided to plant more unique varieties. The lots have different microclimates and therefore also individualised processing practices resulting to each lot cupping distinctly and differently. And as their family grows and the younger generation starts taking on more responsibility over the coffee activities, the Morenos’ commitment to their buyers remains steadfastly loyal and forward-looking.