About The Coffee
Danson Wanyutu Karugondo and his brothers - Geoffrey, Bernard and Eliud - cultivate and process this Fully washed coffee on their farm, Docha Estate.
The estate sits at 1,650 to 1,850 meters above sea level in Kenya’s Kiambu County, just a stone’s throw from Nairobi – 15 kilometers to be exact! The brothers grew up on Docha Estate and learned coffee production from their parents. Danson oversees much of the work and uses organic manure from his cows and chickens to improve the quality of their coffee. They were among the original members of the Ngewa-Komothai group and have worked with Sucafina/Kahawa Bora over the years on improving various aspects of their production. They have done such an amazing job increasing both yields and quality
that they're now able to market the coffee under their own names.
Kiambu county has deep red volcanic soils, rich in organic matter and perfect for coffee farming. Danson makes the most of this. The farm is planted with a mix of ‘traditional’ SL34 and SL28 coffee trees, and he works the farm himself - along with a bit of help - with great diligence. The ‘SL’ varieties were cultivars originally released by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (SAL) in the 1930s and 1940s. They soon became the go-to trees for many growers in Kenya due to their deep root structure, which allows them to
maximize scarce water resources and flourish even without irrigation. Along with the more recently developed Ruiru-11, these varieties are virtually ubiquitous in Kenya today.
Harvest and Processing
Docha is categorized as a ‘small estate’ in Kenya. This sector has, until recently, been frequently overlooked. Traditionally, many farmers of this size in the country did not own their own processing equipment. They have historically delivered cherry to a centralized cooperative-owned ‘Factory’ (as washing stations are called, locally), where their production is combined with that of others from their region. Danson,
however, has his own, small wet mill where he is able to process his own coffee, ensuring full traceability back to his farm. Cherry is selectively handpicked and then pulped. Coffee is then fermented for 12 to 24 hours in a small tank before being washed in clean water to remove any remaining mucilage. All wastewater from the washing process is cleaned to ensure their environmental impact is limited. Parchment is soaked for 12 hours and then transferred to raised beds where it sundries for 14 to 21 days. As
it dries, parchment is turned regularly to ensure even drying.
Kenya and Kiambu region
Though coffee growing had a relatively late start in Kenya, the industry has gained and maintained a impressive reputation. Since the start of production, Kenyan coffee has been recognized for its high quality, meticulous preparation and exquisite flavors.
Kenyan small and medium-sized farmers are organized into hundreds of Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS), all of which operate at least one factory. Most of the larger estates have their own washing stations. Most Kenyan coffees are fully washed and dried on raised beds.
Kiambu is right outside Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi but is nonetheless known for agriculture – specifically coffee and tea. The county is also home of the Kenyan
Coffee Research Foundation. Kiambu County is also well known for its dairy
production, and is the largest dairy producing county in Kenya. Many of the growers here adhere to organic fertilizing practices, using only cow manure instead of
agrochemicals on their coffee trees. Farmers in Kiambu face low production due to pests and disease while simultaneously having to pay high prices for inputs. In recent years, many have felt the strain and have sold their land to real-estate developers looking to build on the edge of Nairobi. Support from partners who help farmers build long-term profitability, can make all the difference.