Ngewa Komothai Farmers is a group of about 30 smallholders who pulp, ferment and dry their coffee themselves. Their lands sit in the foothills of the Gatamaiyo Forest reserve, an area also known for tea growing. The Kenyan Coffee Research Foundation also has its home here.
Many of the growers apply organic farming practices, without being officially certified, and use cow manure instead of agrochemicals.
Next to coffee farming, keeping cattle is very popular in the region. Cows are very common here, and Kiambu has many dairy production facilities. Always plenty of cow dung at hand!
Each small estate manages its own harvest and processing. In the case of these producer groups, the processing was done on a smaller scale than at the traditional larger factories, on equipment they have in their own yards.
The producers of the Ngewa Komothai group following the traditional Kenyan coffee processing method. After harvest, cherries are sorted on maturity through flotation and visual selection. Next, the coffee will be pulped and left to ferment for 24 hours on average. The coffee is then washed to remove any remaining mucilage. Depending on weather conditions, the parchment takes around 14 days to dry. The farms installed their own raised tables for this project, under the guidance of the team on the ground. The producers get support during all steps of the production process from the team of field officers.
Farmers deliver their beans as dry parchment to the Kahawa Bora Millers dry mill in Thika, Kenya. Here, they will do a first quality analysis to determine the bean as well as the cup quality. The dry mill process cleans and sorts the parchment, hulls the beans and finally separates the lots into the different screen sizes (AA, AB, PB).