Kenya – Gakuyu-ini AB


Co-operation : Gakuyu-ini Coffee Factory
Farmer : several small-holders
Variety : SL 28 & 34 (AB)

Process : Washed
Region : Kirinyaga
Altitude (masl) : 1700

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


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.

Duromina – Ethiopia

Co-Operative : Duromina
Owners : more than 270 smallholders
Varieties : Ethiopian Heirlooms

Process : Washed
Region : Jimma, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1900-2100
Harvest Method : Handpicking

In the spring of 2010 a little more than 100 farmers from the remote neighbourhood of Boto joined their forces and started a co-operative called Duromina. In Afan Oromo language this means “improve their lives”, which is exactly what it has done.

Coffee has grown in the region for generations but before the co-operative people paid almost no attention to quality control. Farmers processed their coffees using dry, natural methods and sold their crops in the local markets receiving very low prices. Despite the ideal climate conditions and high altitudes the area was almost a synonym to poor quality coffee.

Duromina co-operative got a jump start with the help of an international nonprofit called TechnoServe. TechnoServe works with development initiatives, mostly with agro-businesses that utilise natural resources and human power. With their help farmers were able to gain funding, education and training needed to build and run a successful wetmill. As a result the farmers were able to process coffee themselves for the first time and pay attention to quality. All their hard work and investment paid itself back already the following year. In 2011 their coffee scored 91.92 points and an international panel of judges voted it the best coffee in all of Africa.

Followed by the vast growth in the quality and recognition of their coffees, farmers were able to get a 65% premium over the international commodity price. With this increase in income they were able to pay back their loans in just one year.

The farmers of Duromina Co-operative place high value on developing their coop as well as helping others. Farmers are very willing to pass on their knowledge and educate other farmers on the methods they have found useful. They have also used the increased income in bettering the lives of their whole community. For example they have built a bridge to keep their remote village connected to neighbouring markets and clinics even during the rainy season and flooding rivers. The village has also renewed their roofs, solar power and primary school all the way through eighth grade. Families are able to send their children to secondary school in nearby Agaro and even to universities. There’s also plans to connect their village to the electrical grid in the near future.

The farmers cultivate their coffee in small homesteads and on the hillsides under the shade of indigenous Acacia trees. There is no use of agrochemicals for the farming, making the coffee completely natural. The water for the wetmill comes primarily from the nearby uncontaminated river by gravity. Waste water is treated through planted vetiver grass and 2 big lagoons and left over pulp from the processing of the coffee cherries is mixed with soil to be used as a fertiliser.

Duromina Co-op and TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative

Duromina got their funding through Technoserve’s Coffee Initiative much like our other Ethiopian coffee Hunda Oli. TechnoServe conducted Coffee Initiative in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in the years 2008-2011. It’ objective was to enable smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and increase their incomes. TechnoServe is regarding Duromina as an outstanding success story of rapidly growing business receiving exceptionally high returns from US Market.

Through this program 139 609 farmers received training that helped them better their farming techniques which resulted in better quality of the coffee and thus increased the farmers’ yields by an average of 38%. These increased profits are bettering the lives of the whole community.