Gakayuini – Peaberry

Kenya

Taste notes:

Lemon - Blackcurrant - Cocoa

Recommended for:

Espresso - Filter - Cafetiere - Aeropress - Chemex - Hario V60 - Syphon - Stovetop

Clear selection

Description

A fantastic example of a high altitude Kenyan coffee, this Gakayuini Peaberry from Thirikwa Cooperative Society displays great character in the cup. Expect flavours of lemon and blackcurrant upfront with cocoa nuances on the finish.

The ‘Peaberry’ is a genetic mutation, which accounts for around 5% of all coffee beans that are harvested. Normally the coffee fruit or ‘cherry’ produces two seeds or ‘beans’ that develop with flattened, facing sides. However sometimes only one of the beans becomes fertilised, causing it to develop on its own producing the small pea-shaped bean, known as a Peaberry.

Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya has been described as “the cradle of humanity”. In the Great Rift Valley, palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man’s ancestors. Kenya’s topography is incredibly diverse; consisting of mountains, valleys, open plains, deserts, forests, lakes, savannahs and a golden sanded coastline. It is no surprise therefore, that with this beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, Kenya is one of Africa’s major safari destinations.

Coffee was introduced to Kenya by the British with seeds from neighbouring Ethiopia and also from Reunion (Bourbon) Island. The development of hybrids during the 1930s brought about the highly successful varietals, SL28 and SL34. Both of these varietals are now world famous, admired for their wonderful complexity and unrivalled citrus acidity. The country’s best coffees are grown in the Central Highlands on the south-facing slopes of Mount Kenya to the north of the country and in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains to the west. Here the coffee is grown on farms at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres above sea level – this, along with the fertile volcanic soils of the region, is the key to the almost unbelievable flavours that can be found within the cup.

The best coffees in Kenya are produced by the cooperatives of which there are around 300, comprising of  5-600,000 smallholder members. About 60% of Kenya’s coffee is produced on cooperatives with estates with plantations making up rest. Typically a smallholding or ‘shamba’ is comprised of shade-grown coffee, a house, the family cow and a good variety of vegetables and fruit for the family.

The Gakayuini factory is part of the Thirikwa Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society. This coffee factory (wet-mill) is situated in Kirinyaga on the southern slopes of the famous Mount Kenya. The farmers in Thirikwa planted their first coffee trees in 1953. The Gakayuini factory is the only one within the cooperative. Annual production is around 784,000 kg of cherries but the society’s aim is to increase this to closer to 2,000,000 kg over the next few years through better husbandry and fertilisation.

Kirinyaga is a district located within Kenya’s Central Province and a key area for the country’s coffee industry. The district lies close to Mt. Kenya, and encompasses high elevations of between around 1,600-1,800 metres above sea level, ideal conditions for growing high quality coffee.

The coffee is handpicked by the smallholder members and delivered to the Gakayuini Factory where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature ‘mbunis’ (floaters) using water floatation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours.

Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24 hours. This soaking process allows amino acids and proteins in the cellular structure of each bean to develop which results in higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup.

It is thought that this process of soaking contributes to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are so famed for. The beans are then transferred to the initial drying tables where they are laid in a thin layer to allow around 50% of the moisture to be quickly removed. This first stage of drying can last around 6 hours before the beans are gathered and laid in thicker layers for the remaining 5-10 days of the drying period. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised beds made of chicken wire, which allows the coffee to breathe fully.

Coffee is traditionally sold through the country’s auction system, though recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world. Our supplier, Falcon Speciality have chosen this system since they believe it brings about better returns for the smallholder.

Cupping Chart

Information

Altitude: 1,500 - 1,800 metres above sea level
City: Kerugoya
Country: Kenya
Farm: Gakayuini - Thirikwa Cooperative Society
Owner: 1,500 Cooperative Members
Processing: Washed and sun-dried on raised African beds
RecommendedFor: Espresso - Filter - Cafetiere - Aeropress - Chemex - Hario V60 - Syphon - Stovetop
Varietals: SL28 & SL34

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