About This Coffee
Owner Peter Kimani Kariuki pours his heart into coffee cultivation at Rekika Estate. The 2-hectare estate is located at 1,683 to 1,720 meters above sea level. His focus on quality-oriented processing, combined with the high altitude and superb microclimate of Kiambu, Kenya, his coffee is juicy with berries, black tea and cream.
Peter receives regular training from Sucafina in Good Agricultural Practices, including fertilizer application, pruning guidance and renovation advice, which helps him to keep his small farm in optimal condition. His years of working with Sucafina has enabled him to improve yields and quality, and he looks forward to his hard work paying off by creating new relationships with roasters.
‘SL’ varieties are cultivars originally released by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL) in the 1930s and 1940s. They soon became the go-to trees for many growers in Kenya due to their deep root structure, which allows them to maximize scarce water resources and flourish even without irrigation. They are cultivated with a serious eye to sustainability and Good Agricultural Practices, with minimal environmental impact where possible. Ruiru 11 is a new variety known for its disease resistance and high yields. It also starts yielding fruit after just 2 years.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Rekika is categorized as a ‘small estate’ in Kenya. This sector has, until recently, been frequently overlooked.
Traditionally, many farmers of this size in the country did not own their own processing equipment. They have historically delivered cherry to a centralized cooperative-owned ‘Factory’ (as washing stations are called, locally), where their production is combined with that of others from their region. Peter has his own, small wet-mill where he is able to process his own coffee, ensuring full traceability back to his farm.
Cherry is selectively handpicked and then pulped. Coffee is then fermented for 24 hours in a small tank before being washed in clean water to remove any remaining mucilage. All waste water from the washing process is cleaned to ensure environmental impact is limited.
Parchment is soaked for 24 to 48 hours and then transferred to raised beds where it. As it dries, parchment is turned regularly to ensure even drying.
Even for farmers who may have their own processing set up, the dry-milling set-up within Kenya does not well serve small-to-medium size farmers. Dry mills have lot minimums, which are usually about 50 bags of parchment per lot. This is often unattainable for smaller farmers, necessitating that they merge their lots with others, losing traceability, which in turn which lowers their overall returns and removes potential for name recognition and direct-trade relationship.
To cater for single producer lots that are very small, Kahawa Bora/Sucafina has a separate microlot milling line that was custom made to hull (remove the parchment from the green coffee beans) lots as small as one bag at a time. This line makes it possible for growers to maintain their own ‘brand’ when selling their coffee. We feel this is a push in the right direction for Kenyan growers to gain market access to quality-focused buyers overseas.
Kenyan coffees are classified by size. AA beans are the largest size. AA grade coffees are those that are 17/18 screen size, meaning that they are larger than 7.2 millimeters.
Coffee in Kenya
Though coffee growing had a relatively late start in Kenya, the industry has gained and maintained a impressive reputation. Since the start of production, Kenyan coffee has been recognized for its high-quality, meticulous preparation and exquisite flavors. Our in-country sister company, Sucafina Kenya, works with farmers across the country to ensure these exceptional coffees gain the accolades they deserve.
Today, more than 600,000 smallholders farming fewer than 5 acres compose 99% of the coffee farming population of Kenya. Their farms cover more than 75% of total coffee growing land and produce nearly 70% of the country’s coffee. These farmers are organized into hundreds of Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS), all of which operate at least one factory. The remainder of annual production is grown and processed by small, medium and large land estates. Most of the larger estates have their own washing stations.
Most Kenyan coffees are fully washed and dried on raised beds. The country still upholds its reputation for high quality and attention to detail at its many washing stations. The best factories employ stringent sorting practices at cherry intake, and many of them have had the same management staff in place for years.