Out of stock
566 smallholder farmers organized around the Ngerwe Factory
SL28, SL34, and Ruiru 11
Embu County, Kenya
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
November - December
This is a juicy, classic sweet-savory Kenya with flavors of pink grapefruit, gooseberry, tomato, caramel, and black currant. Ngerwe is part of a well-known producer organization in Embu County, further East than the more popular regions of Kirinyaga and Nyeri.
Central Kenya & Embu County
Mt. Kenya, at the helm of Kenya’s Central Province, is the second tallest peak on the continent of Africa and a commanding natural presence. The mountain itself is a single point inside a vast and surreal thicket of ascending national forest and active game protection communities. The central counties of Kenya extend from the center of the national park, like five irregular pie slices, with their points meeting at the peak of the mountain. It is along the lower edge of the forests where, in wet, high elevation communities with mineral-rich soil (Mt. Kenya is a stratovolcano) many believe the best coffees in Kenya, often the world, are crafted.
Embu is almost identical in climate, elevation, and soil composition to nearby Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties. While it has fewer overall coffee farmers and is less-known for it's top quality, the county boasts excellent farmers and cooperatives, and a long history of coffee production, being home to some of the country's first cooperative unions prior to independence from the British in 1963.
Kibugu FCS and Processing Style
Kenya’s coffee is dominated by a cooperative system of production, whose members vote on representation, marketing and milling contracts for their coffee, as well as profit allocation. Kibugu Farmers Cooperative Society (FCS) is an umbrella organization that represents 5 total factories (centralized wet mills), including Kathakwa, Gikirima, Gicherori, Ndunduri, and Ngerwe. The cooperative society is headquartered outside the town of Kibugu, close to Embu's border with Kirinyaga county.
Ngerwe's farmer members grow passion fruit, corn, beans, and tea as well as coffee. Part of Kibugu FCS’ management is consulting on the ideal management of diverse farms, including sustainable farming trainings and literature. The society also pre-finances their members for pre-harvest inputs and harvesting labor, as well as family school fees.
At the factory, Ngerwe collects cherry from members daily throughout the harvest months. The cherry is sorted on arrival for ripeness and consistency and then blended together for processing: coffee is depulped with a disc pulper (large, impressive multi-channel machines originally manufactured in India), is fermented overnight, washed in fresh water and moved to raised screen tables to dry, a process that takes 1-2 weeks depending on local climate and ambient temperatures.
After drying is complete the coffee is conditioned in large perforated bins on site to allow moisture to stabilize, preparing the coffees for transit and a long shelf life. The established milling and sorting by grade, or bean size, is a longstanding tradition and positions Kenya coffees well for roasters, by tightly controlling the physical preparation and creating a diversity of profiles from a single processing batch.