||Kenya Othaya Chinga Natural SL28 SL34 NH 2014
||Province: Nyeri, District: Othaya
||Varietals: SL 28; SL 34
Last year I took my first trip to Kenya. Not to meet producers but rather to get an insight into how the market works, and how we can improve the quality of what we buy from Kenya. This is one project that emerged from the visit.
Much of Kenyan coffee comes from cooperatives, which means it's tough to go to visit a person or build a long term relationship. But by speaking with the coop leaders and washing stations, it is possible to get something interesting going and to work on projects together.
The Chinga mill is located near to the town of Othaya just east of the Chinga Dam. It's approximately 5 KM south west of the town, and is in the Nyeri county part of Kenya.
The mill has some 783 members (587 male and 195 female) and each member only owns a small piece of land of an average 0.3 acres. They harvest the coffee themselves then sell it to the mill, where it is processed and sent to the government auction.
The project part of this coffee was that we asked them if they would naturally process a batch for us. They kindly agreed to do so as long as we promised to buy it regardless of the final cup.
So it's a small lot to make sure that we didn't mess up; we also spread the risk with two different quality of coffee lots, this is an NH we have here, being screen 15 or above. They thought I was crazy as only the poor quality coffee in Kenya gets naturally processed, and they couldn't understand why I wanted only the best quality coffee processed in this way. But they did it, and luckily for us it worked out better than we could have hoped.
NH and NL are new grades, and are basically invented, given these are good cherries selected and then naturally processed. They will not be official grades as yet (and probably not soon, as this is the first time we've seen them used), and are not linked to the similarly named MH and ML grades. MH and ML (traditionally used for Mbuni Heavy and Mbuni Light) were created and used so the packers, mill operators, etc., would have some degree of familiarity with the nature of natural processed coffee.
In the cup this is a smoked blackcurrant, but with a wood-chip and pipe tobacco finish. You can tell it wants to be one thing and also another. A confused coffee that's clean with big base notes.
Name: Othaya Chinga
Affiliated to: Chinga Farmers Cooperative Society
Average rainfall: 1,200 - 1,500mm
Altitude: 1,795 m.a.s.l.
Drying method: Sun
Harvest method: Hand Picking
Varieties: SL 28; SL 34
Coordinates: 0°34'45.4"S 36°55'35.2"E
Soil: rich volcanic loam
Just past first crack, keep this light, don't take this anywhere near second crack.
"Quick Look" Guide
Smoked blackcurrant, wood-chips, sweet pipe tobacco, clean, big base notes.
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