African coffees are a mainstay of our Latitude Espresso and our current blend comprises a delicious, fruity offering from Kenya. We’ve paired this with a wonderful coffee from Mexico which brings balance to the cup, the two coffees supporting each other to produce a rich, complex espresso.
The fruit forward nature of Kiri AA from Kenya brings an abundance of blackcurrant flavour to the espresso with hints of soft red apple and grape. There are fruit tones in Guadalupe Zaju (Mexico) along with flavours of nut and a muscovado sugar sweetness. The overall effect of combining these coffees is a bright, fruity front end coffee with a rich, sweet long lasting finish.
When combined with milk you can expect those fruit flavours to bring an abundance of sweetness into the cup - simply delicious!
Established in 1997, Kiri Factory processes coffee for 1,400 producers, 200 of which are inactive, in the Central Province, Kirinyaga County in Njukiini location of Gichugu Division near Kianyaga town. Thanks to the high elevations in this region, temperatures and rainfall are ideal for coffee production – and the rich red, volcanic soils also provide a strong foundation for healthy trees. Additionally, biennial rainfall patterns allow for two harvests each year, contributing more income to each producer.
After purchasing Guadalupe Zaju, Teddy Esteve purchased two neighbouring farms – La Gloria and Chanjul – in 2011, all of which are run, today, under the name of Guadalupe Zaju. Currently, only 350 hectares of the farm’s total 600 hectares are under coffee. Teddy has set about expanding the area under coffee – mostly with resistant varieties that, nonetheless, offer a great cup (such as Marsellesa and various Hybrids). Maintaining forestland is a commitment, however, and it is almost certain that a portion of the farm will remain forested.
Harvesting & Processing at Kiri
After harvesting ripe coffee cherries by hand, producers transport the cherries to the mill whereby the exterior pulp is removed via machine. The coffee is then rushed into a fermentation tank and submerged in water to initiate a fermentation process. This stage lasts overnight and allows the sugars to break down before being pushed through channels to complete the washing process. After a last careful soak, the freshly cleaned coffee is spread on the raised tables to begin the drying phase.
Drying can vary in duration and is dependent on temperature and volume. This means that drying will take anywhere from 7 – 15 days in the open sun. During this time, the coffee is hand-sorted and moved to prevent the spread of mould and maintain quality. Once the ideal moisture content is attained, the coffee is hulled and rested before being shipped.
Harvesting & Processing at Guadalupe Zaju
All coffee on the farm is selectively hand harvested and sorted, again, when it is delivered to the farms mill. The coffee is pulped using a Pinhalense ecopulper, purchased in 2009, which separates ripe and underripe/underweight cherries again, along with removing any debris remaining with the cherries. This pulper uses one cubic meter of water to process up to 20 tonnes! This is a huge water savings and contributes greatly towards limiting the farm’s environmental footprint.
After pulping, coffee is sorted by density and delivered to separate tanks to ferment between 36 to 40 hours, depending on the weather at the time. The coffee’s ‘readiness’ to be washed is done using the traditional method of ‘prueba de palo’ (stick test), where the coffee is stirred with a long pole to see if it is the right consistency to be washed. The farm has experimented with temperature gauges, but the workers find that these traditional methods are equally as accurate in determining fermentation levels.
After fermentation, the coffee is delivered to a demucilager to remove any last traces of mucilage, again helping the farm save water and limit waste.
The region experiences insufficient sun to dry the entirety of the farm’s production on patios, so all of the export quality coffee is dried using the farm’s 10 guardiolas, or mechanical steel drums. Temperatures of these wood fired driers are carefully monitored, and coffee is dried at a slow and constant temperature of 40 degrees until they reach between 11-12% humidity. Thus, the coffee is dried on patios for 2 days and in guardiolas for another 3 days.
Social & Environmental Responsibility
In order to maintain a healthy yield, producers supplying the Kiri Factory work to execute sustainable agricultural methods. Carefully articulated pruning and weeding methods are enforced to promote the growth of healthy trees. Fertilizer and mulch are incorporated into the soil to promote soil health. Also, to solidify this sustainable knowledge, training and advice are given to producers via field visits organized by the ministry of agriculture. With this infrastructure of sustainable farming, producers then have a stable yield to contribute to the factory.
The factory practices environmentally friendly methods by digging holes for wastewater to ensure it does not pollute natural waterways. These sustainable methods will help create a future for coffee production in Kenya.
The coffee at Guadalupe Zaju is 100% shade grown. Shade is well-managed and designed to be multi-purpose. Magnolia from Guatemala has been selected due to the fact that it is evergreen and has less leaf fall. Even more importantly, it is a sturdy tree with a relatively high canopy. Shade trees are also selected for their ability to control pests. Because of coffee leaf rust and rising temperatures, the farm still has to apply some fungicide and pesticide. But they are able to limit application by widely planting the Chalún tree. Not only does this tree provide shade and help fix nitrogen into the soil, it provides a feast for the “Chulunero” insect (as it is known locally), which would otherwise attack the coffee trees.