Numerous smallholder farmers, all of whom are members of the Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society, produced this AB lot. They delivered their coffee cherries to the Ruchu Coffee Factory (as washing stations/wet mills are called in Kenya) and the lot was produced from their deliveries.
Farm: Ruchu Factory; Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society
Varietal: Sl28, SL34 & Ruiru 11; some Batian
Processing: Fully washed & dried on African beds
Altitude: 1400+ metres above sea level
Owner: Owner: Approx. 600 members deliver to Ruchu;FCS = Approx. 3715 active members
Region: Murang’a County, Central Province
Some of the issues that farmers face are low production due to loss due to pests and diseases and the relatively high cost of inputs. Many cannot afford to plant disease-resistant varieties and face being priced out of the market as their yields diminish. It is perhaps no surprise that many young people in the region see no future in continuing to farm coffee. This is a challenge across much of Kenya, and one that cooperatives such as Ruchu must confront in the future.
The Ruchu Coffee Factory
Processing at the Ruchu wet mill adheres to stringent quality-driven methods. All coffee cherries are handpicked and are delivered to the mill the same day, where they undergo meticulous sorting. Factory employees oversee the process and any underripe or damaged cherries will not be accepted by the ‘Cherry Clerk’ – one of the most important harvest-period staff, who keeps meticulous records of how much coffee each producer delivers on any given day (and thus how much payment is due once the coffee has sold). Any rejected coffee will have to be taken home again, and the farmer will need to find a place to dry it (often a tarp in the yard) to be delivered only at the end of the season as low quality ‘Mbuni’ – natural process coffee that earns a very low price. Thus, farmer members are incentivised to only pick and deliver the ripest cherry that they can.
High-quality coffee production and care are taken with the processing are one way to ensure that mono-crops such as tea don’t replace the more diverse, integrated smallholder agriculture that is traditional in the region and of which coffee is an integral part.
In the cup expect oolong tea, grapefruit, winey flavours with a medium, dry body. This versatile coffee is suitable for any brewing method. Enjoy a cup at Origin in De Waterkant and Bree or grab a bag of beans for your home or office. View our full coffee offering here.