TASTING NOTES | LEMON. APRICOT. BLACKBERRY
Country of origin: Kenya
Farm name: Ichuga
Location: Karatina, Nyeri, Central Kenya
Producers: Farmers working with Kiama Farmer Cooperative Society
Varieties: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11
Processing: Fully Washed AA
Harvest & Shipping: Oct - Dec 2022
Farm Size: 0.5 to 2 hectares on average
SCA Quality Score: 88
Suggested brew method: Filter
Ichuga Factory, located in Nyeri near Karatina, is one of the five factories owned and operated by Kiama Farmer Cooperative Society (FCS). Situated at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level, this factory plays a vital role in producing a remarkable FW coffee known for its prominent fruitiness and clean profile. With delightful flavors reminiscent of currants, berries, and citrus, it offers a delightful coffee experience.
The establishment of Kiama FCS traces back to 1996 when five cooperative societies, previously belonging to separate cooperatives, came together. The name "Kiama" is derived from the combination of the two current cooperatives it belongs to: Kiawirigi and Magutu. Charles Ngure, the elected chairperson of Kiama FCS, holds a deep appreciation for coffee's significance in the communities served by the cooperative. Growing up in the realm of coffee production and inheriting his family farm, Charles has a profound connection to the industry.
As more farmers increasingly rely on coffee production as their primary source of income, Kiama FCS recognizes the importance of improving coffee quality through enhanced cultivation practices. To achieve this, they receive valuable support from Kahawa Bora, an organization that provides training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and access to affordable inputs. Additionally, Kahawa Bora plays a crucial role in assisting Kiama FCS in obtaining certifications such as Rainforest Alliance and CAFÉ Practices, further reinforcing their commitment to sustainable practices.
At Ichuga Factory, farmers predominantly cultivate SL28 and SL34 varieties in small coffee gardens. These varieties, developed by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL) in the 1930s and 1940s, have gained popularity among Kenyan growers due to their deep root structures. The advantage of these deep roots is that they maximize the utilization of scarce water resources, enabling the plants to thrive without relying on irrigation. Farmers at Ichuga Factory also prioritize sustainable farming practices and adhere to GAPs to minimize their environmental impact. Additionally, the introduction of the disease-resistant and high-yielding Ruiru 11 variety has been a notable development, with the added benefit of maturing after just two years.
Previously, farmers faced challenges in accessing soil analysis methods, leading to the application of generalized fertilizer formulas that didn't cater to their specific farm needs. However, thanks to Kahawa Bora's soil sampling program and technological assistance, farmers now have access to vital information that empowers them to apply the appropriate fertilizer blends at the optimal time. This precise approach has resulted in improved yields and better cherry quality.
Kiama FCS leverages the advantages of bulk purchasing, allowing cooperative members to acquire discounted inputs. This strategic approach, combined with soil analysis and the implementation of improved cultivation techniques, contributes to increased coffee yields and enhanced overall quality.