Altitude: 1700-1800 masl
Process: Washed, dried on raised beds
Varieties: SL-28, SL-34
Tasting notes: Purple grape, blackberry, sugary
Kenya is entirely unique in the world of coffee. The country has long been known for its high quality, distinctively fruited and intense profile. Most coffee in Kenya is grown by smallholders who each only produce enough for a few bags. Growers are encouraged to organize into cooperatives, which markets and sells the coffee on the community’s behalf. Farmers deliver their cherry to cooperatively owned washing stations, locally called “factories”, where the coffee is triple fermented and washed immaculately clean in a 72 hour process, before being dried on raised beds. Terms like “Kenya process” and “African beds”, now widespread in other coffee producing countries, are so-named to pay homage to the innovations of Kenyan producers. Factories organize their product into lots called “out-turns” that represent a small slice of the harvest, and then deliver them to Nairobi where they will eventually be sold, dry-milled, and exported. Buyers from all over the world come to Nairobi to cup hundreds of out-turns at a time from the best factories, many of which are bid on in a national auction.
Gatomboya is a factory in Nyeri operated by the Barichu coop. Farmers grow SL-28 and SL-34 varieties, the stalwarts of great Kenyan coffee, at an elevation of 1700 - 1800 masl. AB is a grading distinction that indicates screen size of the coffee. In Kenya, coffees are sorted and separated by the size of the bean, with the most common specialty quality grades being AA (screen 17-18), AB (screen 15-16), and PB (peaberry). Through fertile terroir, exceptional varieties, and unparalleled processing, Gatomboya demonstrates the irresistible quality and big flavors of great Kenyan coffee. This lot brings to mind purple grape, blackberry, and a sugary sweetness.