Karatina is a Kikuyu name for a “tree” that produces some fruits used to brew the famous Muratina beer, which was used by the Kikuyu to celebrate and perform rituals. Within the vicinity of the factory, there is a town with the famous Karatina open air market and hotels that cater to visitors with a view of the snow-capped Mt. Kenya.*

Just 500 meters outside the rural center of Karatina sits this factory of the same name. The Karatina Factory is the oldest in the region with coffee processing beginning in 1957 under the then mega Cooperative Mathira F.C.S. in 1996 after the split of Mathira it be came one of four factories managed by the Kenya Barichu Farmers Cooperative society. Karatina is run by a factory manager and 2 supervisory members who oversee the delivery and processing an average or 500,000kg of coffee between October and January. This cherry is contributed by around 1000 active members, most of them from small plots averaging .5 acres or 250 trees.

While the farmers do not practice inter-cropping they do grow macadamia, bananas, maize and beans on other fields under supervision of the field committee and the Kenya Barichu FCS, which works to give the farmers credit facilities for school fees, farm input and other emergencies. They also house a nursery which serves the whole society providing matured seedlings to help reduce drops in production/income for farmers. To help educate farmers on Crop Husbandry and other agricultural practices key for quality the Co-op has a demonstration plot financed by Tropical Management.**

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Kenya Barichu Karatina AA, from New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

region: Nyeri District, Kenya
farm: N/A
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Barichu Farmers Cooperative
elevation: 1700 – 1800
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma of the Kenya Barichu is absolutely stunning, and I can’t help but be intoxicated by it. My honest reaction to the aroma was my eyelids closing to conceal my eyes rolling into the back of my head and I let out a deep, gratified sigh as bright, tropical fruits, lush florals, and sweet sugars invaded my nostrils. Pear, grapefruit, citrus, and milk chocolate…

The flavor follows the nose. The coffee is on the lighter side of a medium body and features a lush, juicy texture that gushes over my palate. Juicy and lively flavors of pear, apple, papaya, and a mellow grapefruit acidity splash on my tongue. The coffee doesn’t have much clarity, up front—all of these flavors are sort of muddled together; but it makes the coffee seem that much more like a fruit punch. As the coffee cools, however, the clarity improves. This phase of the cup also introduces flavors of chocolate milk and Meyer lemon, and black tea and lavender aromatics that play out through the finish.

FINALTHOUGHTS

New Harvest Coffee Roasters’s Kenya Barichu Karatina AA is a highly satisfying cup of coffee.

*content courtesy of InterAmerican Coffee
**content courtesy of Cafe Imports

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