Long time fans, first time collaboration.
In the early days of The Snobby Collective we stumbled upon a blog by Rocket Coffees intitled "Honey Fingers". Instantly we identify these guys as our kind of people. People who care about coffee, helping coffee lovers understand where it comes from and the challenges faced in getting it to us. They also happened to be running a disaster relief fundraiser for a volcanic eruptio, at an origin that escapes me, although their commitment to the coffee community doesn't.
Long admiring the work of the H-Town boys from a far, calling in for a brew at their Barton St HQ when we got the chance. Fans of their low key vibe and there's just something about their style that reminds me of growing up in H-Town that cannot be put into words, but it could have something to do with the 80's vibe of the manicule (pointing finger) that adorns their neighbours wall.
July was our 3rd time featuring Kenya, but the first time we had taken our subscribers to the highly regarded Kirinyaga region.
During July we explored;
THE FACTORY: Segnent only available to subscribers at this time.
The Co-Op has a membership of 1500, of whom have an average land holding of 1/2 hectares and an average of 300 trees. Members benefit from resources such as pre financing. Funds from the previous years harvest are set aside and members can access these for expenses including school fees and funds for emergency needs. Additional assistance is provided to the factory from field partner (Coffee Management Services) with the aim of increasing production through farmer training. By paying producers high prices, opportunities such as Good Agriculture Practice seminars and printed materials on sustainable farming are made possible. Reinforcing the sustainability model and echoing the need to to preserve the environment, the factory has dug soak pits. The pits help to direct waste water away from soil where it can contaminate fresh water sources as the factory doesn’t currently have waste water treatment facilities. In addition, farmers are encouraged by the society to plant trees on their property alongside other common crops such as Maize, Bananas and Grevillea or Macadamia trees.
CARE AND ATTENTION:
Processing is a meticulous task undertaken at the Gakundu wet mill, guided by strict quality driven processes.` Hand picked cherries are delivered to the mill same day, where they are methodically sorted. Farmers hand sort under ripe, over ripe or damaged before they reach production. One of the most important harvest staff is the “Cherry clerk” who accepts the sorted cherry, weighs and record how much coffee each producer has delivered each day. This recording is vital as it directly related to how much each farmer will receive when the coffee is sold. Low quality coffee must be taken home by farmers who then need to find a place to dry it, often a rudimentary tarpaulin in the yard, this is then delivered at the end of the season and sold as a low quality naturally processed coffee or “Mbuni” which in turn provides incentive for farmers to only pick the ripest cherry they can. The cherries are pulped before being fermented for 24-36 hours under shade depending upon climate conditions. After fermentation, the beans are washed again before being laid out to dry on raised beds where they will remain for the next 12 – 20 days to dry in the sun. Drying times vary depending upon weather conditions. To provide protection to the drying parchment, coffees are covered with plastic during the middle of the dayand at night to offer protection from spoilage caused by moisture and rain.
County: Kirinyaga County
Cooperative: New Ngariama FCS
Year started: 1983
Varieties: Ruiru 11,SL 28, Batian
Harvest season: May- June|November-December
Annual Rainfall: 1,100mm
Altitude: 1100- 1800 M.A.S.L
Soil: Red volcanic soils
Process: Wet processing (Washed)
Drying process: Sun drying
Click here for a previous feature on Kenya to
discover how Kenyan coffee is traded.
Aeropress: Inverted method
15g Ground coffee
250g water (Just off the boil)
Pour half of the water to moisten the grounds
Give a stir or swirl to ensure even saturation before
adding the remaining water.
Aim for a contact time of 3 minutes
V60: (60g to 1 litre ratio)
20g Ground coffee
Pour 70g of water to bloom and give the bed a good stir
At 30 seconds slowly pour the remaining water before giving
Another gentle stir and a “Rao spin”
if you’re not familiar, check out Scott Rao on YouTube.
Aim for not less than 2 minutes 30, 3 minutes would be optimal.
Side note from Glen at Rocket Coffee,
Try not to drink it all in the first or even second week.
Kenyan coffees take a bit to de-gas and as a result seem to get a lot tastier a few weeks after roast.