Farm: Kimandi Washing station
Altitude: 1672 MASL
Location: Kerugoya in Kirinyaga; Central Province.
Variety: SL 28 and ruira
Owner: Co-operative comprising 625 active members
Harvest: October – December, and April – June
Process: Washed. After pulping the coffee is stored overnight, washed, soaked and spread on raised drying tables where the parchment is turned frequently before sorting.
Balanced and sweet, this is a stunning example of a Kenyan coffee.
Blackcurrant, fig, rosehip.
Resting on 5 acres of land and nestled in a traditional tea growing area in Kirinyaga, Kimandi washing station is located near Kerugoya town, in Kenya’s Central Province. The station was established in 1982 and serves the villages of Gacigi, Gitumbi, Kagundu, Manga, Ngangaya and Kangoru.
Kimandi is run by Samwel Maina who works alongside 5 permanent members of staff and up to 13 seasonal employees during peak season.
The area experiences Moderate rainfall of about 1400mm p.a. with temperatures ranging between 13-24 degrees Celsius. The long rains fall between March and May while the short rains come between October and December. The region experiences a biennial production cycle, with the early harvest being from April-June and the late second season being from October-December.
The main varieties of coffee grown are SL28 and Ruiru 11, with SL28 accounting to 99% of all coffee produced and Ruiru 11 accounting for the nominal 1%.
In line with rising awareness in Kenya on environmental conservation, Kimandi has initiated a couple of projects including the building of 15 waste water soak pits. These soak pits naturally filter waste water from processing, allowing it to soak back into the soil and avoiding any run off into local water supplies.
Kimandi is affiliated to the Kabare Farmers Co-operative Society, comprising 625 active farmers. The affiliate members of the co-op carry out all agronomic activities associated with coffee production, sourcing coffee seeds from the Coffee Research Station, planting and cultivating according to the guidelines offered by the group. Fieldwork carried out involves weeding, pruning, application of fertiliser, mulching and technical advice. Technical advice is offered through farmer training programs and field visits offered by ministry of agriculture.
Best practices are checked and supervised by the field committee, who visit farms in the area and check that coffee is not inter-grown with other crops such as maize and beans, though they do allow inter-cropping with Macadamia. They also encourage farmers who have abandoned their coffee production to return to production and access better prices for their crops.
After harvesting, coffee cherries are delivered to Kimandi and undergo wet processing, using water from the River Kathegerwa which is fed to reservoir tanks for pulping and re-circulation. To ensure that processing is carried out efficiently, the factory has invested in a pulper, a recirculation system and about 8 conditioning bins.
After pulping the coffee is stored over night, washed, soaked and spread on raised drying tables. The parchment is turned frequently on the drying tables, before being sorted and stored prior to delivery to the dry mill operated by KPCU.