About this coffee
Kutere washing station in the Mt. Elgon region is owned and operated by Kutere Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS). Farmers delivering to Kutere cultivate coffee on farms that sit on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. Their farms are small, averaging less than 1.5 hectares on average, and consist of SL28, SL34, Batian and Ruiru 11.
Farmers delivering to Kutere cultivate primarily SL28, SL34, Batian and Ruiru 11 in small coffee gardens that are, on average, smaller than 1.5 hectares. ‘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. Batian is a relatively new variety introduced by the Kenya Coffee Research Institute (CRI) in 2010. Batian is named after the highest peak on Mt. Kenya and is resistant to both CBD and CLR. The variety has the added benefit of early maturity – cropping after only two years. Similar to Batian, Ruiru 11 is a new variety known for its disease resistance and high yields. It also starts yielding fruit after just 2 years.
Harvest and Processing
Smallholders selectively handpick only ripe cherry and deliver it to Kutere Factory. At intake, the Cherry Clerk oversees meticulous visual sorting and floating, accepting only dense, ripe cherry. After intake, cherry is pulped and fermented. Following fermentation, coffee is washed in clean water and laid to dry on raised beds. Workers rake parchment frequently to ensure even drying. They cover drying parchment during the hottest time of day, to maintain slow, even drying and at night, to shelter parchment from moisture.
PB stands for PPB stands for Peaberry. Peaberry is a name given to a very specific shape of bean. In Spanish, peaberries are called “caracol”, which means “snail”. The name aptly describes the shape of the peaberry bean, which appears slightly curved in on itself. Peaberries are the result of a natural mutation in the coffee cherry. Whereas there are usually two beans nestled together in each fruit, in a cherry with a peaberry mutation, only one bean forms. As a result, peaberries are a single, rounder bean. Peaberry mutations occur in approximately 5% of all coffee. The beans are known for being rounder, smaller and denser, which can contribute to a more even roast color, when handled correctly. Many people find peaberries to have a sweeter flavor profile, as well.
Since peaberries are a natural mutation that is not visible from the outside of the cherry, peaberries must be sorted out during the screen grading stage of dry milling. The peaberry screens have the smallest holes, which are oblong to allow the rounder beans to fall through.
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.
Kenyan small and medium-sized farmers are organized into hundreds of Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS), all of which operate at least one factory. Most of the larger estates have their own washing stations. Most Kenyan coffees are fully washed and dried on raised beds.