Episode 26 on Tuesday the 12th of May 2009 Kenya Gethumbwini AA Lot 796

Gethumbwini AA from the Kiambu region is a coffee that's very well known to us. But just be aware, not all Gethumbwini is good. Gethumbwini is a huge estate and it's not possible for it to produce just good coffee due to size. Inevitably there will be some 'commodity grade' coffee that leaves the farm gate. In simple terms (though I don't fully understand all of the intricacies myself), the way that the Kenyan coffee market operates is via a government run auction. All of the coffee crops are split into small lots that go into an auction where importers and exporters can bid for the specific coffee that they want. This particular coffee comes from lot 796 which is an amazing example of the quality that is possible from Kenya.

The Gethumbwini Estate has been owned by French company, SOCFINAF, since 1957. The farm itself is thought to be over 80 years old. General management is the responsibility of Group Manager, Mr. Harries, a second Manager, Mr. Ngungute, and his assistant, Mr. Gitonga.

The farm is located in the foothills of the Aberdare Ranges overlooking the Chania River some 40km north of Nairobi, 120km south of Mount Kenya and a few km north of the industrial town of Thika. It comprises around 1000 acres. Coffee is planted on approximately 360 hectares. Gethumbwini Estate is situated at an altitude of 1,800m (6,000 feet) and receives rainfall of 1,000mm per year which falls principally in two rainy seasons. The temperature ranges from 15-26C throughout the year. The area is rich in red volcanic soil making it an ideal place for the growing of fine quality coffee.

Gethumbwini coffees are processed by company-owned hulling facilities, offering employment to some 100 full time personnel and a further 200 seasonal workers during the picking season. Processing is carried out by wet pulping. The coffee then undergoes overnight fermentation before it is then washed, soaked and then sun-dried on raised screens (or 'African beds') after which it is then stored in conditioning bins until milled.

Abundant wildlife is found on the Estate and the farm members are educated about the importance of preserving these species which include snakes, hares, owls, weaver birds, hawks and - the main attraction - hippos.

Employees on the farm are provided with a number of benefits including housing with clean drinking water and electricity. Full medical care is also provided for both the employee and his/her family at a clinic with a qualified nurse on the farm. There is also a school for the workers' children.

If anyone tells you that all coffee tastes the same, give them a cup of this and witness them change their mind. In the cup this is 100% big bold blackcurrant, and I mean huge Ribena like berries which then turn into smooth, creamy, milky deliciousness. This is one huge coffee. Now some like the acidity found in this coffee in their espresso, though for me this is the perfect French press or filter coffee, and I truly mean perfect.

Coffee:Gethumbwini Estate AA Farm:Gethumbwini Estate Varietal(s):SL28, SL34 Processing:Fully washed and screen-dried Owner:SOCFINAF City/Town:Thika Region:South central Kenya, north of Nairobi


  • 12 May 2009, 8:39 pm

    Christ Steve, I want.

  • 12 May 2009, 8:59 pm

    Mark Pearce says:

    Great episode Steve! A coffee with a taste of Ribena is my kind of coffee :D

  • 12 May 2009, 10:02 pm

    David Dunlop says:

    Arm well and truly twisted Steve. Tried a Gethuwmbwini Peaberry earlier this year at Artisan Cafe in Edinburgh and was blown away by the blackberries. Sounds like this one will do likewise with knobs on, and given the aeropress treatment this should certainly raise a few eyebrows. You may have just sold a Vario grinder as well, so great job all round.

  • 13 May 2009, 5:37 pm

    Stephane says:

    cl stands for centiliter :) So you poured a quarter of liter. Aaaah british people…. ;)

  • 13 May 2009, 5:39 pm

    Stephane on May 13, 2009 at 18:37

    cl stands for centiliter :) So you poured a quarter of liter. Aaaah british people…. ;)

    So what’s that in pints ;)

  • 13 May 2009, 6:07 pm

    Mark Pearce says:

    0.43 ;) pints!

  • 14 May 2009, 9:51 am

    Stephane says:

    In France we have two standard kind of pints : 0.25 cl and 0.50. Note that usually, the bottles are 33 cl…

  • 14 May 2009, 6:16 pm

    Just found this now for the first time, it looks great!

    18000 meters is high for a coffee farm, trumps Everest at 8,840m for the highest peak in the world;-)

    Hope all is well!

  • 14 May 2009, 8:13 pm

    Hey Deaton

    Yes that was meant to be 18 hundred, got a little carried away :)

    Hope all is well in your world, gutted you didn’t get to Atlanta :(

  • 18 May 2009, 8:39 am

    Auguri, di nuovo!

    Re coffee cups. The espresso cups I have are designed I believe by the famous painter Salvador Dali. There are many beautiful coffee cups, mostly obtainable in Italy and Spain.

    However, demi tasse sized carton cups, as supplied by Lavazza, Gaggia etc. are extremely amenable to good
    espresso coffee. Myself I have a supply of these from Tchibo, very attractive in logo appearance.

  • 20 May 2009, 10:38 pm

    I got carried away when I first hear it, I actually believed you!!!! ;-)

    Yeah I am gutted that I could not make it, though I am planning on coming to London next year for the WBC!

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