You asked and it has returned! Runget'o Co-op had a stunning year this year, with all three Karimikui washing station coffees (AA, AB, and PB) leading the field. We were able to get our hands on the last bags of the AA lot. You'll find a more delicate fruit quality surrounded by incredible sweetness and complexity.
Altitude: 1700-1800 MASL
Varietal: SL28, SL34
Karimikui is part of Runget’o Cooperative Society, together with Kii and Kiangoi factories. All three factories were built in the 70’s, but were initially affiliated with Ngariama Coop, which was liquidated in 1996, forcing factories to form new societies. Nowadays Runget’o gather over 4,300 active farmers, and nearly 45% are female farmers. The management is composed by 7 committee members, 2 for each factory - elected by farmers - and the 7 member, who must be a woman, is rotational between the 3 washing stations.
Karimikui alone has 1,400 registered smallholder farmers and the production in the last 8 years has increased, from 60 MT to an average of 85 MT of clean coffee a year.
There’s no doubt, Kenya is an amazing coffee destination. Coffees from this origin are known for their powerful aromas, refreshing acidity, flavors of sweet berries, rich mouthfeel, and clean and lingering aftertastes.
The washing stations that produce this coffee pride themselves on having some of the best-paid cherry producer members in the country. The system at the Kenyan Coffee Auction is refreshingly transparent in its communicating where coffees come from, its systematic organization of coffee by screen quality (such as size and physical attributes), and in its practice of rewarding cup quality/sensorial attributes.
Most coffee producers in Kenya are “smallholders”. Each producer’s total volume might only be a few bags, thus hundreds of farmers, when living in the same area, are likely to be members of a cooperative, which markets and sells coffee on the whole community’s behalf. Each cooperative typically runs several “factories” (i.e. processing and washing stations) where producers deliver cherries from their farms. Sometimes a producer chooses to deliver to the closest factory but some prefer delivering to a different factory, due to differing management practices. The usual reason for choosing one factory over another is based on the prices a given factory manages to obtain for its cherries.
Good management at a good factory will not allow for unripe or unevenly matured cherries. This is because accepting such cherries damage the potential to receive optimum prices for everyone concerned. We pride ourselves in knowing the factories we buy from pride themselves on ensuring their community of members deliver only red and mature cherries. In Kenya’s market make-up, cherry price is directly linked to cup quality.