What a fantastic surprise. Michael came to us back in November to let us know he had started Sorted Coffee and wanted to get involved. While this is the first collaboration with Michael under the name Sorted Coffee, its not the first time we have enjoyed his craftmanship here at The Snobby Collective, as he has worked in the industry as head roaster for some names who we love and admire, even roasting subscriptions for us.
With great excitement and enthusiasm, we couldn't wait to get Sorted for February!
Presented with 3 samples, we chose Michaels personal favourite, a Kenya AB from Kira Farmers Cooperative's Kamagogo Factory and told the stories of:
Kamagogo coffee factory was built in the 1970’s and is one of four facilities managed by Kiru Farmers’ Cooperative Society. Situated on a 9 acre plot of land near Kirianai town, one of the most unique aspects if Kamagogo is its location within what is traditionally a tea growing zone. The cooperative has a catchment and washing station that sees its 1000 members deliver their coffee for regional bulking (Coffee is collectively processed, resulting in a regional lot, such as the one you have received) The coffee is then hand sorted, washed fermented before being laid to dry on raised beds where additional hand Sorting to remove defects takes place. The farmers who make up the cooperative have been steady in their investment in Kamagogo’s facilities year upon year. From buying raised grading tables, undertaking improvements to the raised drying beds and advanced de-pulping equipment. Water from the processing of coffee at Kamagogo is treated through a water soaking pit, helping purify the water and prevent it from contaminating fresh water sources, Systems such as this are not commonplace at coffee processing sites in the region. Operated by a station manager with five permanent staff, The region sees a biannual season with an early harvest taking place from March to May, backed up with a second late season from October to December.
Located in Kenya’s Central Provence, Muranga county is bordered in the east by Kirinyaga county, a famed coffee growing region and the Aberdare mountains in the west. The local geology, comprised of volcanic rock in the high altitude west (3300m) down to the Achaean rock in the lower altitude east (900m) act as natural aquifers, not Only providing sources via wells and bore holes, but also regulating ground water. The blessing of water also provides ample challenge for the people of Muranga county. The mountain range offers catchment of several rivers which all drain west to the Tana River. The high rainfall in the mountainous catchment results in landslides, wreaking havoc with the numerous bridges required to connect remote valleys resulting in difficult and expensive maintenance. Murangas’ agriculture and ecology consists of a mix of forestry, coffee, tea and dairy farming. Divided into six zones, Zone 1, The highest in the west is home to forestry and tea plantations and tourism, deemed the most important economic enterprises to the county. Zones 2 and 3 lay east of the Aberdre mountains, the regular long rainfalls coming during March, through May, with the highest and most reliable in April meaning these regions don’t require extra irrigation Generally flatter and lower altitude these zones are favoured for coffee and dairy farming, with the lower zones providing coffee and pineapple plantations, with the assistance of irrigation these crops thrive.
RUIRU 11 – VARIETY:
A hybrid developed in Kenya at the Ruiri coffee research station from which it takes its name. Like many hybrids, it was developed for local conditions in response to disease. Kenya suffered from a coffee berry disease epidemic in 1968 which saw production drop by 50 percent and the beginning of an intensive breeding program from which Ruiri 11 was born in 1985. The aim of the program was to create a cultivar that was not only resistant to disease, but provided cup quality characteristics of taller varieties found Africa, with the added challenge of being compact and suitable for intensive planting. The challenge didn’t end there, The male parent provides resistance to CBD with its Rume Sudan, K7 and Timor Hybrid lineage and cup quality from N39, Bourbon and Kenyan favourites SL28, SL34. The Female provides an extra layer of protection and dwarf stature thanks to its Catimor family lineage. The last hurdle before its release was to cross the tall male and dwarf parent plants to make a group of siblings in dwarf stature With resistance to CBD and leaf rust. Mass propagation of Ruiru 11 requires the manual pollination of female plants with the pollen from the male which results in a F1 (first generation) hybrid seed, from this plant the resulting seeds produce a set of siblings which are mixed before distribution to farmers, what is known as a composite variety. Because of the complexity of hand pollination it has been Produce enough Ruiru seed to meet farmer demand.
Region: Muranga county
Producer: Kiru Farmers Cooperative
Factory: Kamagogo coffee factory
Altitude: 1800 MASL Varietal/Species: SL28, SL34, Ruiri 11, Batian
Process: Fully Washed, Sun dried
Tasting notes: Blackcurrant Red grape Plum
Time: 3:30 minutes
Photo Credit: John Burton Limited