Gakuyuini AA - Black Currant, Plum and Raspberries
Producer: Thirikwa FCS
Origin: Krinyaga, Kenya
Varietals: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11
Harvested: November 2020
Roaster: La Cabra
Roast Date: 20.06.2021
There it is, the first Kenyan of the season and it's such banger!
It's the origin that woke up nearly every single specialty coffee person around the globe and started a new career from there. With its incredible berry acidity, standing out among all other origins out there and truly differentiating itself from industrial shit coffee, if done well.
Kenya has always been among our favourite origins and every year we do our very best to grab those top notch lots of every we can we can find out there.
Gakuyuini is such an excellent lot and we promise that you will love it!
It arrives every year just at the perfect time, summer has begun and we want some juicy cups hot or on ice. This one we love to brew directly onto ice the 'japanese' way. Just change half of the brewing water into ice cubes (125g out of 250g), grind slightly coarser to highlight the acidity (25-30 clicks) and brew by adding half the amount then usual in every pour (30g -> 60g -> 125g) and finish at 2.30min. Swirl and enjoy a damn juicy, cold coffee!
Kenya is always a bit more pricey than most origins as it's among the most popular and produces some of the highest quality lots out there. It's a good thing, making the market slowly a more realistic one.
Don't miss this outstanding Gakuyuini, its probably one of the best this year!
Here is what La Cabra says:
The Gakuyuini factory is located just outside the small town of Ngariama, in the eastern Kirinyaga region. Like much of the excellent coffee we find in Kenya, Gakuyuini is located on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya, home to fertile volcanic soils and plentiful high altitude. Gakuyuini was built in 1982 and is the only mill owned by the Thirikwa Farmers Cooperative Society, of which there are just over 1500 members. Most of the farmers here have 200-250 coffee trees, spread amongst other crops and farming activities, like maize, macadamia and dairy. These other crops are used both for food and for selling at local markets. The fertile soils and excellent climate in this region lead to very high coffee quality, and the factory’s 3 full time workers careful control of cherry quality and fermentation ensure this reaches the final cup. All of this increases prices, in fact the Thirikwa Cooperative broke the Kirinyaga record for the price paid to its farmers in 2017. Most farmers here have coffee as their only main cash crop, so the cooperative is encouraging them to grow more coffee to benefit from these high prices, supporting them with seedlings and agronomic advice to maintain quality.
In the cup, this is the most berry-forward and intense Kenya we have received this year, with crisp blackcurrants and raspberries followed by a heavy ripe plum sweetness.Kenya operates on a system similar to its neighbour Ethiopia, where small-holder farmers are often part of cooperatives, delivering their harvested cherries to wet mills owned by the cooperative to be processed. In Kenya, these wet mills are more often referred to as factories, and many cooperatives own several within a small region, keeping the distance from farm to mill down. The cooperative pays a price to each farmer for their cherries, depending on the quality and quantity they delivered to the mill, and on the price they receive from green coffee buyers for the processed product. Cooperatives often employ a mill manager, a very important role, as they are ultimately responsible for the quality of the mill’s output. Their stewardship of coffee fermentation is a huge factor, but the quality of raw cherries arriving at the mill is also important to control. Careful sorting during fermentation stages can help, but often managers will reject damaged or unripe cherries before they even enter the mill. Many cooperatives also pool their resources to provide support to their members, such as visits from agronomists, and low interest loans for investment in farms.
Kenya’s traditional washed process is a big factor in the unique character of Kenyan coffees. The cherries are first depulped mechanically, as soon as they arrive at the factory. The cherries should arrive for depulping as soon as possible after picking, hence why cooperatives make a great effort to have factories located close to concentrations of smallholders. After depulping, the seeds are covered in a layer of sticky fruity pulp, or mucilage. The mucilage is fermented in large tanks for between 12 and 24 hours, breaking it down to a point that it can be thoroughly ‘washed’ from the seeds, using long washing channels. Then, before drying, the cherries are taken to another set of fermentation tanks, and fermented again under water, normally for a shorter time, between 10 and 12 hours. This ‘double soak’ is popular in Kenya, and is useful not only for enhancing the cleanliness and intensity of the final cup, but also as a second opportunity to sort for lower density floating seeds, as these are often of lower quality, or from unripe cherries. This attention to detail is the reason Kenyan coffees are so consistently of very high quality, and why they carry a price premium above many other producing countries.