Kenya Ruchu AB

warming red wine – stewed berries – dark chocolate – pomegranate finish – rich & elegant


Our single origin coffees are all packed into 250g bags straight from the roaster. For optimal freshness, if you select 1kg of a single-origin coffee, it will be shipped as 4x250g bags. Our blends and decaf are packed into both 250g and 1kg bags.

The grind size you select affects the extraction of your coffee. Unlike when purchasing pre-ground, we give you a wide range of choices to optimize the flavour of your coffee. Please select the brewing method you use and we will grind at the best setting for it. If you want more information reach out to us on our Live Chat for assistance.

warming red wine – stewed berries – dark chocolate – pomegranate finish – rich & elegant

Origin  Kandara, Murang’a County, Central Province, Kenya
Owners  Approx. 700 smallholders of the Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society (approx 3,715 active members across the full FCS)  

Flavours  warming red wine, stewed berries, dark chocolate, pomegranate finish, rich & even more elegant than the AA
Body  medium, round
well balanced for a Kenya, baked peach
Roast  light-medium
Brewing  pourover, siphon, plunger, espresso + milk-based

Altitude  1,700-1,800 masl
Varietals  SL28 & SL34
Processing  fully washed & sun-dried on raised beds
Total size of farm  350 hectares under coffee

Our single origin coffees are all packed into 250g bags straight from the roaster. For optimal freshness, if you select 1kg of a single-origin coffee, it will be shipped as 4x250g bags.  
Our blends and decaf are packed into both 250g and 1kg bags. 

The Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society

This AB lot was produced by numerous smallholder farmers, all of whom are members of the Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society (FCS) delivering to Ruchu Coffee Factory (as washing stations/wet mills are called in Kenya). The factory is located near the town of Kandara, in Kenya’s Murang’a County.

Ruchu Gacharage FCS has a long history. They formed in 1961, even before Kenyan Independence. They operate 5 factories: Mukangu, Ruona, Gacharage, Kamichee and Ruchu with total membership of around 3,700 small scale coffee growers. Ruchu factory is in an ideal location, not too far from the mid-sized township or Kandara and overlooking the Ruchu River, from where it draws water for pulping and washing coffee. Although the factory is smaller in size, it is sufficient to serve the surrounding community. Currently the mill processes somewhere in the vicinity of 160 metric tons of coffee cherry annually.

The coffee is grown throughout the region on healthy deep red volcanic soils high in nutrients and organic matter. This soil is ideal for coffee production and give the trees the necessary resources to allocate energy to high-quality coffee production. Harvest generally occurs amongst the cooperative members between October and December. In some cases, early crop can be harvested between April and July.

Processing & Quality Control

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 under-ripe 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 season as low quality ‘Mbuni’ – natural process coffee that earns a very low price. Thus, farmer members are incentivized to only pick and deliver the ripest cherry that they can.

After being weighed and logged, the weight of the delivery and the farmer’s identification are recorded in the Cherry Clerk’s register and the cherries are introduced into the hopper to be pulped. Pulping will only begin when a sufficient quantity of cherries has been received.

After pulping the cherries are delivered to one of the factory’s fermentation tanks, where it will ferment for between 12 to 48 hours depending on the ambient temperature at the time. After this, the coffee is fully washed to remove all traces of mucilage, during which time it will be graded. The coffee will then either be delivered to dry on the factory’s raised drying beds or will be soaked under circulating water for up to 24 hours, depending on if there is room on the factory’s beds (during the peak of the season, there is often a backlog). The coffee will dry here slowly over the course of 2 to 3 weeks, during which time it will be turned regularly and covered during the hottest part of the day.

Environmental Practices – Waste Water

Wastewater from the wet milling process is managed through the use of soaking pits. The water used for processing the cherry will spend time in the pits to insure that the nutrient rich water created during depulping will not be returned to the nearby water source without proper treatment. This additional step will cut down the risk of contamination and after adequate time for reabsorption the water will be recirculated.

Current Challenges for Coffee Production

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.

Ruchu Gacharage FCS also has to compete with tea as an agricultural crop. Many growers across Murang’a and Nyeri have converted their coffee plots into tea, as the crop is harvested year-round and is more readily converted into cash-in-hand. Low prices for coffee have exacerbated this in recent years. High quality coffee production and care taken with 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.

A Note on Screen sizing in Kenya

The AA, AB and other grades used to classify lots in Kenya are an indication of screen size only. They are not any indication of cup quality. The AA grade in Kenya is equivalent to screen size 17 or 18 (17/64 or 18/64 of an inch) used at other origins. AA grades often command higher prices at auction though this grade is no indication of cup quality and an AB lot from a better farm may cup better. PB (denoting Peaberry – where there is only one seed in the cherry rather than two) is the smallest screen size.

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