This is one of my favourite Kenyan coffees. The coffees from Karogoto are always super clean, floral and have an intense black currant flavour. This is because most of the members / farmers are still growing the SL28 variety and have received a lot of agricultural training over the years. The climatic conditions also contributes to the coffees' intensity with very cool nights and moderately hot days that slow down the ripening process and gives a very unique coffee.
Black currants, blackberries & red grapes
Several smallholders farmers
1600 - 1700 masl
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11 & Batian
The coffee is hand picked by the farmers and their families. After delivering the coffee to the wet mill the good coffee cherries are separated from the inferior ones. The cherries are depulped and graded by using an old disc de-pulper that uses water and gravity to sort dense beans from less dense beans. The beans are dry fermented for about 12-16 hours over night. After fermentation the coffee is washed and graded in the morning before it gets dried on african elevated drying tables, where defect parchment coffee gets sorted out. The coffee is dried to a moisture between 10-12% and stored in conditioning bins before delivery to the dry mill. The coffee is vacuum packed before it is shipped to Norway.
Karogoto is situated near Karatina town in Nyeri and is the biggest wet mill in the Tekangu cooperative society with over 1700 members. All the members are smallholder farmers which sell their coffee cherries to the Karogoto factory (or wet mill as we normally call it.) Some of the members have become quite famous in Nyeri for their extremely productive coffee farms. One of them, Mr. Elmud, a senior member and farmer has had a production of 35-40 kilos of coffee cherries per tree. This is a huge amount compared to for example Ethiopia where the average yield per tree is about 1,2 kg. Although Elmud does not have a lot of coffee trees in his "shamba" or small farm, the productivity and quality is very high due to the fact that he has recieved training from agronomists that is organized by the cooperative. And because of this he is able to make a decent living out of growing coffee. After the cherries are delivered to the wet mill, Mr. Ephraim who is the factory manager is in charge of processing and drying the coffee. Ephraim is very passionate about his job and is also a farmer and member of Tekangu. He does everything he can in order to make the coffee taste as good as possible. We have been buying coffee from this cooperative for many years as it has consistently delivered one of the best coffees in Nyeri year after year. Since it is hard to work directly with the thousands of smallholder farmers that are members in the cooperative we decided to try a different approach in order to help improve the quality of the coffee from Karogoto. One of the things we noticed during our many visits to the factory was that they were lacking drying beds and therefore did not have enough capacity to dry the coffee in the best possible way. The old drying beds were made of wood that had been eaten by termites and were collapsing while the thick layers of coffee were drying on them. Therefore in 2010 we collected money on our 3 year anniversary and donated the money to build 8 metal drying beds for coffee at Karogoto. You can read more about that project here.