Ruchu AB - Kenya

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  • Regular price £10.00
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Ruchu AB
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Tasting Notes: Red apple, Brown sugar, Black Tea
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Process: Fully Washed 
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Variety: Sl28, SL34 & Ruiru 11; some Batian
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Elevation: 1400+ MASL
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Region: Murang’a County, Central Province
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It's finally Kenyan season again and boy do we have a good one here! I am obssesed with Kenyan coffees and Ruchu AB is a delightful example of why. This is the second AB Kenyan I've purchased. The AA, AB and other grades used to classify lots in Kenya are an indication of screen size only. They are not any indication of cup quality. The AA grade in Kenya is equivalent to screen size 17 or 18 (17/64 or 18/64 of an inch) used at other origins. AA grades often command higher prices at auction though this grade is no indication of cup quality and an AB lot from a better farm may cup better.
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This AB lot was produced by numerous smallholder farmers, all of whom are members of the Ruchu Gacharage Farmers Co-Operative Society delivering to Ruchu Coffee Factory (as washing stations/wet mills are called in Kenya). The factory is located near the town of Kandara, in Kenya’s Murang’a County.
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Processing at the Ruchu wet mill adheres to stringent quality-driven methods. All coffee cherries are handpicked and are delivered to the mill the same day, where they undergo meticulous sorting. Factory employees oversee the process and any underripe or damaged cherries will not be accepted by the ‘Cherry Clerk’ – one of the most important harvest-period staff, who keeps meticulous records of how much coffee each producer delivers on any given day (and thus how much payment is due once the coffee has sold). Any rejected coffee will have to be taken home again, and the farmer will need to find a place to dry it (often a tarp in the yard) to be delivered only at the end of season as low quality ‘Mbuni’ – natural process coffee that earns a very low price. Thus, farmer members are incentivised to only pick and deliver the ripest cherry that they can.
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Some of the issues that farmers face are low production due to pests and diseases and the relatively high cost of inputs. Many cannot afford to plant disease resistant varieties and face being priced out of the market as their yields diminish. It is perhaps no surprise that many young people in the region see no future in continuing to farm coffee. This is a challenge across much of Kenya, and one that cooperatives such as Ruchu must confront in the future.

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Ruchu Gacharage FCS also has to compete with tea as an agricultural crop. Many growers across Murang’a and Nyeri have converted their coffee plots into tea, as the crop is harvested year-round and is more readily converted into cash-in-hand. Low prices for coffee have exacerbated this in recent years. High quality coffee production and care taken with processing are one way to ensure that mono-crops such as tea don’t replace the more diverse, integrated smallholder agriculture that is traditional in the region and of which coffee is an integral part.

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Free delivery on all orders £15 or over

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Information provided by Mercanta Limited