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RUNG'ETO FARMERS COOPERATIVE SOCIETY

Coffee first came to the Rungeto area in the 1950’s. As is true in all of life, growers experienced highs and lows including the rise of the giant Ngariama Cooperative and its eventual demise. In 1997, 1,150 members of the defunct Ngariama Co-op came together to form the Rungeto Cooperative Society, and soon re-opened Ngariama’s three factories (processing mills), Kii (built in 1965), Karimikui (1968), and Kiangoi (1995). Member growers bring their coffees to the mills for fresh water processing courtesy of the Kii River.

The society is located in Kirinyaga County, Gichugu Constituency. Rungeto Co-op is governed by seven board members, two of whom are elected from each mill plus one women representative ona rotational basis. Thanks to the excellent work of the member growers and governing board . Today it has approximately 7,800 members who farm rich, loamy clay soil between 1,600 and 1,800 meters above sea level.

The cold, fresh, fast-running water comes straight from Mt. Kenya’s snowy peaks and is the source for the water used to wash the coffees in the factories

Processing

The quality of coffee is known for is also a result of its insistence on sorting, to ensure that only perfectly ripe cherries are processed.

Cherries are sorted before they’re pulped. The parchment is fermented overnight and then washed and graded. The sorted parchment is then dried on raised beds for between 8 and 14 days.

The chairman of the society has taken several measures to improve cup quality and the sustainability of the mill and co-op. These include installing tiles on the washing channels, which would otherwise be concrete; and ensuring that the river water used by the mill is cleaned and re-used. (In green, above, is the Kii Factory’s manager.)

Cupping notes: Dark chocolate, raisins, sweet tomato, herbal; creamy body, winey acidity.

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