Producer Community: Coffee farmers organized around the Kii Factory
Variety: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian
Region: Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Crop Year: 2019/2020
Altitude: 1310 - 1900 masl
Soil: Volcanic loam
Process: Fully washed and dried in raised beds
Flavor notes: Kii has a deliciously complex favor profile. It has a nice, medium body with bright grapefruit acidity. Upfront, we taste red grapefruit and brown sugar which is followed by lingering mango and chocolate finish.
Kirinyaga Rungeto Kii AA. Cool name, isn't it? Let's find out where this coffee's full name comes from.
Kii is the name of the washing station (or the factory, as it's called in Kenya). Farmers deliver their harvest to the Kii factory where the cherries go through diligent and labor-intensive post-harvest processing. This process starts with sorting out the damaged and defected beans. Then, cherries are de-pulped, fermented to remove the remaining mucilage, and washed in concrete tanks. Once the beans are washed, they are soaked in fresh water for over 24 hours. This last step helps the Kenyan coffee beans put on their distinctive favor profle. After soaking, the beans are meticulously dried on raised beds to be stored until export by Rungeto.
Rungeto is the name of the Farmers' Cooperative Society (FCS) of which Kii factory is a member. It is not uncommon for farmers to organize around such cooperatives in Kenya, as well as in other East African countries. FCSs are responsible for organizing capacity building training for the farmers, developing business networks, managing the relationships with the buyers, and more.
Rungeto is a relatively small FCS with three factories: Kii, Karimikui, and Kiangoi, supporting 4500 farmer members (for comparison, the largest coffee FCS in Kenya has 12 factories and around 17000 members). Rungeto farmers typically cultivate an average of about 250 coffee trees on half-acre plots in Kirinyaga.
Kirinyaga is the name of the central county in central Kenya where Rungeto FCS is located in. Kirinyaga rests on the southern foothills of Mount Kenya. These volcanic soils significantly contribute to the high quality of the cherries from this region.
AA is the name given to the largest beans in Kenyan coffee bean grading system. Beans are graded based on the screen sizes and exported/marketed accordingly.
There is a common belief that AA beans taste better than AB beans (one size down). However, we highly recommend you should never assume anything in coffee and instead, taste for yourself. :) Hence, Kenya Kirinyaga Rungeto Kii AA.
Kii is imported by our friends at Royal Coffee who is a family-owned and operated coffee importer from Oakland, CA. Max Fulmer (CEO of the company and the son of the founder, Bob Fulmer) personally develops relationships in Kenya and selects the finest beans the roasters. Royal Coffee is serious about transparency and fair trade.
You may read about one of their equitable practices, the Red Cherry Project, here.