Gachiru Nyeri AA
washed • Gachiru Estate • Nyeri, Central Kenya
notes / strawberry, peach, cacao, caramel
profile / bright, velvety, complex
region / Nyeri, Central Kenya
altitude / 1700-1950 masl
varietals / SL28, Batian
farm / Gachiru Estate
producer / James Gakuru Ngobia
processing / washed
drying method / raised beds
importer / Sucafina
This Fully washed coffee produced by James Gakuru Ngobia at his farm, Gachiru Estate. James cultivates an interesting mix of traditional SL28 & the newer Batian cultivar.
Gachiru Estate sits at 1,700 to 1,950 meters above sea level in Kenya’s Nyeri County. Located on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains, the farm benefits from rich soil and a temperate climate, perfect for growing coffee.
Producer James Gakuru Ngobia works with our team at Sucafina/Kahawa Bora to improve the quality of his coffee and productivity of his trees. Field staff provide training and support in a wide range of agricultural and processing techniques.
Nyeri County has rich soil and a temperate climate, making it perfect for coffee farming. Much of the coffee here is cultivated in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains, which have warm days and cool nights and a plentiful water supply.
Gachuri is planted with ‘traditional’ SL28 coffee trees and Batian. The SL28 cultivar was originally released by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL) in the 1930s and 1940s. Along with SL34, it soon became the go-to tree for many growers in Kenya due to its deep root structure, which allows it to maximize scarce water resources and flourish even without irrigation.
Batian is a relatively new variety introduced by the Kenya Coffee Research Institute (CRI) in 2010. Batian is named after the highest peak on Mt. Kenya and is resistant to both CBD and CLR. The variety has the added benefit of early maturity – cropping after only two years.
James receives regular training from Sucafina in Good Agricultural Practices, including fertilizer application, pruning guidance and renovation advice, which helps him to keep his small farm in optimal condition.
At 4 hectares, Gachuri is categorized as a ‘small estate’ in Kenya. Traditionally, many farmers of this size in the country did not operate 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. James, however, operates a small wet-mill and processes his own coffee, ensuring full traceability back to the farm.
Cherry is selectively handpicked and then pulped. Coffee is dry fermented for 12 to 24 hours and washed in clean water to remove any remaining mucilage. Parchment is soaked for 13 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.
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 set up is highly unusual in Kenya, and the line makes it possible for growers like James 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.
Nyeri County is one Kenya's most famous growing regions.
The name Nyeri is derived from the Masaai word nyiro, meaning red, after the red volcanic soil in the area. The name was adapted by white settler farmers to Nyeri. Most farmers in the area today grow tea and coffee as cash crops. Coffee varieties in the region are usually a mix between SL 28, SL 34 (roughly 80%) Batian and Ruiri 11.