Kenya Makwa AA 2010


Bean name Kenya Makwa AA 2010
Country Kenya
Region Chania, Thika
Other info Mostly SL28 and K7 varietals


This farm is located close to the town of Gatukuyu at around 1,700m and covers 92 hectares. It has been under the current ownership since the 1970s. Neighbouring farms have taken up cultivation of macadamia nuts (known locally as Kenya nuts) but Makwa remains committed to the cultivation of specialty coffee.

Makwa and the other farms in this region are located close to the equator and this climate produces two crops each year. The main or 'late' crop flowers after the long rains in April/May and is harvested from October-December and accounts for around 75% of the farm's annual crop. The smaller fly or 'early' crop flowers after the short rains of October/November and is picked in May-August. It makes up the remaining 25% of the crop.

We bought a small lot from this farm at a recent NCE auction and found the coffee to be full-bodied with notes of peach and a lingering aftertaste. Most of the farm is planted under SL28 and K7 varietals. A smaller experimental 4 hectare plot of Ruiru 11 (a hybrid of Catimor and SL34) was established as this varietal is resistant to coffee berry disease (CBD), a fungal infection which is widespread in Kenya, and leaf rust so does not require any spraying though the coffee has proved less successful in the cup.

Climate change is altering the way coffee is cultivated at Makwa. Indigenous trees are being planted to establish a canopy and provide shade to balance the effects of increased hours of sun, which coupled with a lack of rain in recent years has stressed the coffee plants and caused an uneven and extended maturation of the crop. The shade cover should help redress this problem. Makwa follows the framework established under the 4C programme.

The yield achieved on Makwa is high at 1,700kg/ha. The original root stock dates back 100 years. Every 5 years the coffee plants are cut back to force new growth. This optimises yield and help to strengthen the plants against CBD.

Throughout the plots, shallow basins are dug between the coffee plants to capture rainwater and prevent run off. These are covered in leaf mulch to further prevent moisture loss through evaporation, ensuring the plants have water to sustain them in the dry months.

Housing and gardens are provided for the 120-strong workforce and are located close to the drying tables and milling facility. As many as 300 people are employed on the farm at the peak of the picking, mostly women who remain the backbone of the rural economy in much of Africa.

In the cup expect lemon meringue pie, with a creamy big mouthfeel, clean bright acidity thats full of effervescence, think lemon pie popping candy, with a big citrus flavours. A very special kenya.

Coffee: Makwa Estate AA
Farm: Makwa Estate
Varietal(s): K7, SL 28
Processing: fully washed, dried on screens
Owner: Mwahota Ikai Company Limited
Altitude: 1,700m
City: Gatukuyu
Region: Chania, Thika
Country: Kenya

Cupping notes

Clean cup 8/8
Sweetness 7/8
Acidity 8/8
Mouthfeel 8/8
Flavour 7/8
Aftertaste 7/8
Balance 7/8
Overall 7/8
Correction +36
Total 95

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