MUBURI | KENYA | KIRINYAGA
Producer Muburi factory
Cultivar: SL 28, Ruiru 11
Notes: Cranberry, Toffee, Blackcurrant, Kiwi, Silky
Coffee buyers and longtime coffee professionals revere Kenyan coffees—they’ve become the stuff of legends, with limited releases of vintage and frozen lots fetching high prices and roasters trading stories of their favorite Kenyan coffees ever. And they’re notoriously tricky to roast—crashing at first crack like they’re bailing out of a runaway car.
In the Kenyan system, farmers own their coffee all the way through export; to prepare their coffee for marketing and export, smallholders organize into cooperatives, which own washing stations called factories. In Kirinyaga, the the Rwama Coffee Farmers Society, which represents 1,200 active smallholder members, has two factories—and the coffee collected and processed at the Muburi washing station comes from four villages surrounding the factory. The factory, first established in 1964, just one year after Kenya won independence from British colonial rule, rests on 7 acres of land serving Gituga, Kiangoro, Muburi and Kagukuma villages.
Coffee from Muburi is special: the prized SL-28 cultivater, renown for its cup quality, constitutes over 99% of the coffee grown here (with the remaining 1% being Ruiru 11).
While other factories have drifted, Muburi still uses the traditional Kenyan methods: cherries are brought from the 4 surrounding villages to be hand-picked, floated, and then pulped in the classic Kenyan 3-channel system, before soaking overnight followed by a second washing, then skin drying followed by 7-15 days on raised beds, then 3-7 weeks in a conditioning bin. This multi-step process using high-grown SL-28 develops the character that made Kenyan coffee famous.