About Kenya Ruita Estate AB
New arrival July 2015 and in grainpro. A direct trade coffee. This coffee is AB grade, slightly smaller than AA offered here elsewhere.
It's rare to find small, family owned farms in Kenya, especially where all of the post harvest processing takes place. The typical scenario is that a farm grows and harvests the coffee, then takes it to a nearby wetmill or 'factory' in local jargon, where washed processing, drying and milling takes place. One there some lots are mingled together with other area farms for coffees meeting a certain grade or type, or, top lots can be separated, processed and auctioned. But, a small farm that does it all is quite a scarce find. We recently discovered a family pursuing this goal and they own two farms in the famed Kirinyaga region of Kenya. Being dubious that their final output would be in the top tier we put them through multiple rounds of cupping and came away extremely impressed and we bought the coffee in two separate grades, AA and AB. The AB is offered here and AA separately. The main distinction being bean size with AA slightly larger. In our cuppings we actually gave a slight edge to the AB.
The Ruita farm is located at 1800 meters (about 6000 feet). The farm itself is very small, spanning only 1.8 hectares (a little more than 4 acres) and with just 10 full time employees, but they hire over 100 workers during harvest season which occurs between November to February. After coffee is harvested the cherries are depulped on the premises. Once depulping is complete the coffee is then wet processed at the mini washing station located on the farm. Workers wash and soak the coffee for 18 hours prior to drying it on twenty raised African beds.
Though the farm is small it has a broad history. Founded in the 1940's, it is one of the oldest coffee farms in the Kirinyaga region. The varietals grown are SL28, SL34 and some Batian. The total production of coffee is tiny, only 50 bags or 6,600 pounds. While the output is small the employees at the Ruita farm are paid twice the Kenyan minimum wage as well as given bonuses based on the success of sales to roasters in the US and elsewhere.
The coffee is intercropped with banana trees for shaded growing conditions which also protects the ecosystem and provides habitat for birds. The farm has been owned by the same family for decades.
Cup characteristics: Clean, very sweet and nicely tart. Classic black currant notes with something tropical flavors added mostly guava. Excellent cup. Like the Ruita AA this is a complex top Kenya coffee at a very fair price.
Roasting notes: Beans are hard and dense and can be roasted to a variety of darkness levels. Most floral and delicate notes will be presented at City+ to FC range. The delicate nuances of this coffee will present themselves at lightly roasted levels but be sure to have a full first crack.
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