Njogu Estate AA - Kenya - 2022
On the nose: a wide range of floral scents are strongly felt, with lavender, ylang-ylang flower, salep, and currant in the center.
On the palate: red fruit salad with notes of pomegranate, blood orange, angelic plum, red apple, cranberry, and cherry. Hot spices such as red and white pepper, currants, sahlep, mahaleb and sumac give way to green fresh spices such as thyme and rosemary as they cool. Red fruits also turn into light-colored fruits such as white peaches, pink grapefruits and pomelo as they cool.
This medium to medium-high bodied coffee has a mineral palate and an intense dark chocolate finish. We think that this coffee, which has a strong floral, fruity and spicyness at the same time, is a good example of complexity and transparency.
This coffee is produced by Joseph Njuguna Muturi on his farm, Njogu Estate. He cultivates SL28 and SL34 on his farm at about 1,850 meters above sea level. Joseph used to work with producers in the Tano Ndogo (“little five”) producer group but, with help from Sucafina/Kahawa Bora, he’s milling his coffee separately and marketing it under his own name.
With help from Sucafina/Kahawa Bora, Joseph also has access to training about improved pruning, cultivation and harvesting methods. Kahawa Bora’s field staff have also performed soil analysis on small estates to inform correct input application, which helps improve yields and quality while reducing cost and environmental impact. This focus on high quality at all stages of cultivation and processing has increased cup scores in a short period of time.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Traditionally, many farmers of this size in the country did not own their own processing equipment. They have historically delivered cherry to a centralized cooperative-owned ‘Factory’ (as washing stations are called, locally), where their production is combined with that of others from their region. Joseph has his own, small wet-mill where he is able to process his own coffee, ensuring full traceability back to his farm.
Cherry is selectively handpicked and then pulped. Coffee is then fermented for 12 to 24 hours in a small tank before being washed in clean water to remove any remaining mucilage. All waste water from the washing process is cleaned to ensure environmental impact is limited.
Parchment is soaked for 12 hours and then transferred to raised beds where it sundries for 14 to 21 days. As it dries, parchment is turned regularly to ensure even drying.
Even for farmers who may have their own processing set up, the dry-milling set-up within Kenya does not well serve small-to-medium size farmers. Dry mills have lot minimums, which are usually about 50 bags of parchment per lot. This is often unattainable for smaller farmers, necessitating that they merge their lots with others, losing traceability, which in turn which lowers their overall returns and removes potential for name recognition and direct-trade relationship.
To cater for single producer lots that are very small, Kahawa Bora/Sucafina has a separate microlot milling line that was custom made to hull (remove the parchment from the green coffee beans) lots as small as one bag at a time. This line makes it possible for growers to maintain their own ‘brand’ when selling their coffee. We feel this is a push in the right direction for Kenyan growers to gain market access to quality-focused buyers overseas.
Kenyan coffees are classified by size. AA beans are the largest size. AA grade coffees are those that are 17/18.5 screen size, meaning that they are larger than 7.2 millimeters.
Coffee Grade: AA
Variety: SL28, SL34
Processing Technique: Fully Washed
Harvest Year: 2022
Producer: Joseph Njuguna Muturi
Altitude: 1,850 m
Farm/Station: Njogu Estate
Region / Sub-Region: Kiambu / Gitwe
Supplier: Sucafina Specialty