REGION: Kerugoya Town, Kirinyaga District, Central Province
ALTITUDE : 1672 MASL
VARIETAL : SL28
PROCESS : Washed
FLAVOUR NOTES : Blackcurrant, Fig, Peach
Kimandi Coffee Factory is located in a traditional tea growing area in the Kirinyaga District, near Kerugoya town, in Kenya's Central Province, at an altitude of 1672 masl. It was established in 1982 and rests on 5 acres of land serving the Gacigi, Gitumbi, Kagundu, Manga, Ngangaya and Kangoru Villages. The factory is run by Samwel Maina, the factory manager, who works alongside 5 permanent members of staff and up to 13 seasonal employees during peak season.
The area experiences Moderate bimodal rainfall of about 1400mm p.a. with temperatures ranging between 13-24 degrees Celsius. The long rains fall between March-May while the short rains come between October and December. The region experiences a biennial production cycle, with the early harvest being from April-June and the late second season being from October-December. The main varieties of coffee grown are SL28 and Ruiru 11, with SL28 accounting to 99% of all coffee produced and Ruiru 11 accounting for the nominal 1%.
In line with rising awareness in Kenya on environmental conservation, Kimandi has initiated a couple of projects including these building 15 waste water soak pits. These soak pits naturally filter waste water from processing, allowing it to soak back into the soil and avoiding any run off into local water supplies.
Kimandi is affiliated to the Kabare Farmers Co-operative Society, whose membership currently stands at 845, of which 625 are active farmers. The affiliate members of the co-op carry out all agronomic activities associated with coffee production, sourcing coffee seeds from the Coffee Research Station, planting and cultivating according to the guidelines offered by the group. Fieldwork carried out involves weeding, pruning, application of fertiliser, mulching and technical advice. Technical advice is offered through farmer training programs and field visits offered by ministry of agriculture.
Best practices are checked and supervised by the field committee, who visit farms in the area and check that coffee is not inter-grown with other crops such as maize and beans, though they do allow intercropping with Macadamia. They also encourage farmers who have abandoned their coffee production to return to production and access better prices for their crops.
After harvesting, coffee cherries are delivered to Kimandi and undergoes wet processing, using water from the River Kathegerwa which is fed to reservoir tanks for pulping and recirculation. To ensure that processing is carried out efficiently, the factory has invested in a pulper, a recirculation system and about 8 conditioning bins.
After pulping the coffee is stored over night, washed, soaked and spread on raised drying tables. The parchment is turned frequently on the drying tables, before being sorted and stored prior to delivery to the dry mill operated by KPCU.