FARM: Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society
REGION: Murang'a County
ALTITUDE : 1700 - 1800 MASL
VARIETAL : SL28 & SL34
PROCESS : Fully Washed & Sundried
This AB lot was produced by numerous smallholder farmers, all of whom are members of the Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society, located near the town of Kandara, in Kenya’s Murang’a County.
The Society was formed in 1961, even before Kenyan Independence and now have a 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 tonnes of coffee cherry annually.
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. Any rejected coffee will have to be taken home again, and the farmer will need to find a place to dry it to be delivered only at the end of season as low quality ‘Mbuni’.
After being weighed and logged, the weight of the delivery and the farmer’s identification are recorded 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. The coffee is then 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. 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.