600 Gitwe Smallholder Farmers
Gitwe Farmers Cooperative Society
Gatundu, Thika District, Central Province
SL 34, SL 28 & Ruiru 11
Fully Washed and Dried on Raised Beds
Stewed Rhubarb, Orange Marmalade and White Grape
Situated in the Central Province of Kenya, the Karatu Coffee Factory was established in 1965, serving the villages of Karatu, Gitwe, Kibiru and Kigaa. Currently a member of the Gitwe Farmers Cooperative Society (FCS), it is also serving as the head office for Gitwe FCS. Factory manager David Kanya is running the operations with a staff of six permanent employees.
Coffee varieties grown by members are SL28, SL34 (99%) and Ruiru 11 (1%), and growers benefit from the rich, red soils typical for the area. With the assistance from our field partner Coffee Management Services (CMS), production has been slowly increasing for farmers here, but growth is slow due to the regional focus on tea rather than coffee.
After picking, ripe cherry is brought to the factory by smallholder farmers, before it undergoes processing to remove the skin and pulp – known as the wet processing method. Waste water is managed through using soaking pits, the factory is currently using five pits to manage the wastewater from processing, and waste water is also recirculated. The factory has two disc pulpers installed to remove the skin and fruit from the inner parchment layer that is protecting the green coffee bean. Then, the coffee is fermented overnight to break down the sugars, before it is cleaned, soaked and spread out on the raised drying tables. Time on the drying tables depends on climate, ambient temperature and volumes under processing, and can take from 7 to 15 days in total.
Our wish is to establish a transparent, trust based relationship with the smallholder farmer, helping to support a sustained industry growth in Kenya, whilst bringing premium quality to our customers, and premium prices to the farmers.