Kiriga Estate sits between 1,550 and 1,650 metres above sea level. It is approximately five kilometres from Thika town, which is an industrial town in the central province of Kenya. It's four kilometres from Blue Posts hotel, which has the famous Chania and Thika falls. Thika lies 50 kilometres northeast of Nairobi.
Administratively, the Kiriga coffee estate is in the Gatanga constituency of Muranga county, and it's separated from Kiambu county by the Chania river.
All coffee activities at Kiriga are carried out at a factory level, from the coffee nursery to all the farm operations (pruning, weed control, nutrition, irrigation, basin digging, disease control, infilling, mulching, and planting). Wet mill operations are also carried out on the factory level. Kiriga delivers both parchment coffee and Mbuni (naturals) to the commercial dry mill for milling and grading, in preparation for sale at coffee auctions and via indirect sale.
In addition to growing coffee the estate also has shoats (sheep and goats), a dairy, and the potential to keep fish. It's all about diversity, and what's more diverse than a 'shoat'?! The estate is also occasionally visited by two hippos, in addition to some bird-life, while also being the home of a family of monkeys.
Kiriga coffee is predominantly SL28 variety (notable for its world-renowned cup quality). The farm has an estimated two hectares of Ruiru 11 variety (which has improved resistance to coffee berry disease and leaf rust); some K7 variety (similar characteristics as SL28, but with better resistance to leaf rust compared to SL28); and a field of the newest Batian variety. About 60% of the coffee that the estate produces is AA/AB.
Like any natural product, each coffee bean is different - some bigger, some smaller, some longer, some rounder...that's lead coffee buyers many years ago to begin separating the coffee by the size of the bean.
Throughout the world, this is done by screens - like a stack of flat colanders, with each layer having slightly smaller holes in it than the layer above. Whatever the smallest size a bean passes through, that’s its size. In most places, they’re named by 1/64th inch - so a screen 18+ means all the beans are 18/64th of an inch or bigger. Simple, right?
Well...in Kenya they use the same screens, but give them different names. An “AA” is screen 17 and 18, an “AB” is screen 16 and 15 and anything smaller (but still a whole bean) is a “C”. This one is another class altogether - “PB” or Peaberry. It's a bit different again, and it’s usually separated from the other beans because the round cross-section of a peaberry lets it pass through the holes of a screen easily.
This year we have the AA, AB, C and Peaberry from Kiriga - so big beans, medium beans, little beans and even littler beans! Traditionally, the AA has got the highest prices (they’re about 15-20% of the crop), with AB being a bit cheaper and C going into commodity coffee. However, Brian from Kiriga sent us his C to try the year before last for the first time and we were wow-ed - it’s really sweet and nice - so we began buying it and are super excited to have it again for another year. The Peaberry has previously been included in with the C, due to the similar size and smaller harvests, however this year the two have been separated out and there's enough of it to stand alone!
So, what exactly is a Peaberry? Normally the seed of the coffee fruit grows into the green bean that we all know and love from two fertilised seeds inside each fruit. However, sometimes things are a little different and a Peaberry is born. When only one of the two seeds is fertilised, it produces a smaller bean that looks like a shrunken version of what we'd normally know as a coffee bean. That's because only one seed has grown instead of two.
Some say Peaberry coffees are sweeter and more delicious than their regular cousins; some people even come to us specifically looking for these coffees because they crave them so much! I'll let you be the judge.
We're in blackcurrant city again with this peaberry lot, but this time it's not blackcurrant cordial, it's more like blackcurrant sweets - think a purple starburst. There's a lovely creamy body and sweetness to it, with just a hint of dark chocolate on the aftertaste.
Roast Information Medium - Through first crack and keep the pace pretty quick, pushing towards second but dropping the roast before second gets going.
We roast all our coffee to order five days a week (Monday–Friday).
If you place an order before 07:30, it will be roasted and dispatched that day. If you order after 07:30, it will carry over to the following working day for roasting.
The cost of postage is additional to the cost of our coffee. One bag at First Class postage will cost £1.50, and one bag at Second Class postage will cost £1.00. DPD next working day delivery is available for a flat rate of £5.00 for all orders up to 10 KG.