||Kenya Kiriga Estate C Washed 2019
||Varietals: SL 28 C & Ruiru 11 C
The first coffee bush at Kiriga Estate was planted in approximately 1954 by colonial settlers. At about the same time, less than ten kilometres away along the same Kigio road, a young boy (Aloysius Gakunga, son of the chief for the larger Murang'a county) helped his father – Senior Chief Ndungíu Kagori – plant the first coffee seedling in the area. The area was known as Gaitegi village, Muranga Location 1 (Loco One). A love affair with coffee had been born!
Several years went by and the young boy grew up. He was riding his bicycle along Kigio road and, as he rode past the vast – by now well-established – coffee estates, he promised himself that he would one day own one of them.
He realized this dream in 1976.
Sadly the boy, or Mr A. N. Gakunga, passed away in July 2014. By the time of his death, Mr Gakunga had passed on the love of coffee, and the mantle of Kiriga coffee estate, to Dr Brian Ndungíu Gakunga. Brian was his second child, and the eldest son out of his six children. According to Kikuyu cultural naming systems, Brian is named after Mr Gakungaís' father, who was both his grandfather and his pioneer coffee farmer.
Dr Brian Gakunga is a coffee farmer who is well known in Kenyan coffee circles. He is a founding member and a former long-serving Honorary Secretary of the Kenya Coffee Producers Association, which is a national farmers organization that works to promote the economic and social interests of the coffee farmers through active participation in the national and international arena.
Brian is also a former Board Member and Chairman of Transitional Exchange Committee (operationally, he was the then-Chairman of Nairobi Coffee Exchange), where over 90% of all of Kenya's coffee is currently sold. He's also currently the Founding Chairman of Africa Coffee Farmers' Network.
Africa Coffee Farmers' Network represents the interests of coffee farmers, as spelt out in the organisation's core objective of improving the earnings of poor coffee farmers in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty. One way of doing this is by getting direct sales for the farmers.
The Kiriga Estate sits between 1,550 and 1,650 metres above sea level. It is approximately five kilometres from Thika town, which is an industrial town in the central province of Kenya. It's four kilometres from Blue Posts hotel, which has the famous Chania and Thika falls. Thika lies 50 kilometres northeast of Nairobi.
Administratively, Kiriga coffee estate is in the Gatanga constituency of Muranga county, and it's separated from Kiambu county by the Chania River.
Kiriga coffee is Arabica of predominantly SL28 variety (notable for its world-renowned cup quality). The farm has an estimated two hectares of Ruiru 11 variety (which has improved resistance to coffee berry disease and leaf rust); some K7 variety (similar characteristics as SL28, but with better resistance to leaf rust compared to SL28); and a field of the newest Batian variety. About 60% of the coffee that the estate produces is AA/AB.
So in a recent chat with Brian, we talked about the prices we pay, and in general he is really happy, we have a mutually beneficial deal for both of us that's sustainable and fair. The problem comes with a low C Price market (the New York measure for commodity coffee) and that the lower grade coffees are not reaching even the cost of production.
So he suggested that we try them just to see what we thought, and of course I did, and was blown away with the quality of these coffees. So this year we bought some as an experiment to make sure I wasn’t going mad and paid a much higher price than they would have fetched on the commodity market. Will we see them again? Well, that's up to you the customer, but I’m already a fan, and I have high hopes for how this can add some more value to a farm we really love.
In the cup I want you to think of a tin of fruit cocktail...now throw in some blackcurrants. It feels odd, but somehow that mashup of sweet fruit flavours really works here. Over those sweet fruit flavours is drizzled caramel and a little sprinkle of cocoa.
Nearest town: Thika
Farmer: Dr Brian Gakunga
Altitude: 1,550–1,650 m.a.s.l.
Varietals: SL 28 C & Ruiru 11 C
Processing method: Washed
Tinned fruit cocktail, blackcurrant, caramel, cocoa
Clean Cup: (1-8): 6
Sweetness: (1-8): 6.5
Acidity: (1-8): 6.5
Mouthfeel: (1-8): 6
Flavour: (1-8): 6.5
Aftertaste: (1-8): 6
Balance: (1-8): 6
Overall: (1-8): 6.5
Total (max 100): 86
Medium - nice and gentle, slow it in crack a little and drop late in the gap.
« Back to Coffee Archive