Kianguti is a small, family owned coffee farm lying within the Inoi area in Kirinyaga County. It stands at an altitude of around 1700 meters above sea level and is surrounded by tea farms. The volcanic soil in this region is rich and fertile and perfect for growing high quality coffee. The farm is run by the founder Kiberenge Muringa’s two sons: Jackson Nyamu and Michael Miriithi. Before they started pulping and processing their own coffee, they were delivering to Kaguyu cooperative factory. Nowadays the brothers have chosen to work independently. It is a small farm with only 1500 coffee trees. The first 1000 were SL varieties (28 and 34) planted in the 1960s, and in more recent years they have added Ruiru 11 and Batian trees.
The Kianguti Estate processes coffee using methods typical throughout Kenya. Local people are paid to pick the ripe coffee cherries between October and January and these are pulped using disc pulpers in the wet mill. The water used to convey the resulting mucilage coated beans also aids quality separation by density since heavier beans sink in the water whilst lighter beans float on the surface. By channelling these beans separately three grades of parchment coffee are created; P1 (the best), P2 and P3. The parchment coffee is then channelled into large tanks where dry fermentation occurs during the following 24 hours or so. Once the mucilage is loose, the beans take on a pebble-like feel and so the fermentation process is halted by washing the beans in channels full of water, where further quality separation takes place, since low grade ‘floaters’ can be directed away from the dense high-quality beans. Next the parchment coffee is channelled to a soak tank where it sits in cold water for around 24 hours, a process which develops the amino acids within the beans and is thought to contribute to Kenyan coffee’s unique flavours.
Next the parchment is laid in a thin layer upon raised beds and allowed to dry under the sun for between 11 and 14 days. The coffee then undergoes a period of storage or ‘resting’ before being delivered to a mill where the parchment will be removed, and the coffee screened and cleaned to remove any defects. It will then be graded by size to create AA, AB, PB etc and finally it will be packed in grain-pro lined bags or in vacuum packs ready for export.