As I am writing this is, it is 30 something degrees outside and this lot screams summer in a cup. Due to the freshness of the crop and with a little help of what we call a “hot drop” (in roasting terms), this is the perfect balance of bright, juicy citrus and currants. So refreshing. This lot will be around for some time, as I am a big fan.
This is our first of two Kenya coffees from Thiriku Mill, taking the place of Ndaroini, from last year. More on the coffee revolution here.. As minnows in the coffee world, we try and make a difference with every bag that we buy. I have tried to explain a little more about it here.
Farm/ Mill Stats
Kenya Thiriku AB
Producer group: Thiriku Farmers Co-operative Society.
Varietals: SL28, 34, and Ruiru 11
Process: Fully washed and dried on raised beds.
Altitude: 14-1700 Meters above sea level
Members:1770 smallholder farmers deliver to Thiriku Mill.
Area: Nyeri County, Central Kenya.
Average farm size: 1 Hectare.
Roast: Hot Drop, beat it with a stick to achieve a light Filter.
Aromatics: Black Tea, Jammy sweetness| Body: Light, creamy on cooling| Acidity: Grapefruit, lime, currants. High and sweet.|
On opening, this Kenya Thiriku AB is citrusy. For me, this is like a combination of sweet grapefruit and (arguably) the best bits of a G&T, in the finish. As the coffee cools (note to self don’t drink all 5 bowls) there is a change in the citrus character to sweet lime, that pairs beautifully with the red and black currants, which become more prevalent on cooling. Potential for black tea notes and botanicals (slightly herbal). This is superb as a cold coffee too.
Recipe: 60-65g per litre and upwards.
Thiriku Coffee Mill and the Revolution
To start with, Thiriku Mill has been producing some excellent specialty grade coffee, independently since 2000. The board who run the co-op are democratically elected. The story changes here. In this first season, 120Ksh has been paid per Kilo for cherry, of which 100Ksh (1$) goes to the grower. The 20Ksh goes to the co-operative to re-invest and re-pay historic debt. Although this isn’t a huge amount of money, it is twice the norm. Cherry is something like 1/6th of the finished weight of roasted and there are various fixed costs, processing, transportation and loans, which are now being reorganised. Trabocca has employed an agronomist on the ground who is making a plan to reduce inorganic fertilizers and fungicides and replace them with organics. Also administering these at the right time makes a big difference in their effectiveness and how much you need.
The goal is to increase cup quality and yield, which will both increase value and incomes for everyone in the co-operative. I am a huge fan of this model and so happy that James Gourmet could play a part from the beginning.