The Gaturiri factory is a member of the Barichu Cooperative society, along with three other factories, Gatomboya, Karindundu and Karatina. There are around 1100 small producers who deliver cherry to the Gaturiri factory washing station and this amounts to between 500 and 600 tonnes of cherry throughout the harvest season.
Since construction over 50 years ago, the washing station has consistently produced top quality coffee, with management staff put high emphasis on cherry selection, proper washing and soaking and long, slow drying.
The coffee is handpicked by the smallholder members and delivered to the Gaturiri factory where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature floaters using water floatation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24 hours.
The beans are then transferred to the skin drying area where the coffee dries under shade very slowly for the first day or so. This is to rest the coffee and to wick away the surface moisture and slowly dry the coffee to start with so that the parchment doesn't crack. The coffee is then laid in a thin layer and allowed to dry for 10 to 15 days. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised cells made of chicken wire which allows the coffee to breathe fully and are very unique to Kenya.