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