This decaffeinated blend is composed of 4 individual lots - the Brazil Orange Pie Santa Lucia, and three separate AA and AB lots from renowned Kenyan washing stations - Kagumoini, Ihara and Muburi.
Located in the region of Sul De Minas, Fazenda Santa Lucia is perfectly situated to grow coffee in Brazil. The 123 hectare farm has been in the Garcia Family since 1994. The Family has a history of three generations of coffee producers, initially beginning with Alexandre Garcia Capelo wgho inspired his son Antonio Wander Garcia to follow in his footsteps and farm coffee, study agricultural engineering and researching plant reproduction and plant nutrition in the process. They have implemented the use of more organic fertilisers as well as reducing the volume of agrochemicals they use. Since taking over the farm they have also implemented the planting of native fruits trees each year as well as bracharia (a type of grass0 and banana plants in between the rows of coffee plants to help maintain the health of the soils and prevent erosion. The farm also uses the practise of cyclical pruning on a 2 or 4 year rotation, depending on the climate and the structural condition of the plant. This helps to strengthen the plant and reduce its susceptibility to disease. During harvest the coffee is manually collected when the cherry reaches maturation. Once picked the coffee is laid out on patios and turned every hour until 50% moisture is reached. The coffee is then collected in thicker piles to allow it to dry down to 11.5%. The processcan last up to 21 days. Once dried, it is then stored in wooden hoppers for 20 days to rest and equalise before being hulled and bagged ready for shipment.
The remaining components of the blend are actually 3 of the best Kenyan lots from 2017, all from the Central Highlands. Kagumoini AB, Muburi AA and Ihara AB. Kagumoini is situated in Nyeri County, and both Muburi and Ihara are washing stations located in the neighbouring county of Kirinyara.
Kagumoini is a factory / secondary cooperative of the Mugaga Society and is situated on the slopes of Mount Kenya and Aberdares mountains in the Central Province. It is comprised of around 1000 members. The region has red volcanic loam soils and good rainfall. SL28 and 34 are grown under shade. Smallholders also grow tea, maize, beans, bananas and vegetables. Kagumoini Factoey has several initiatives aimed at uplifting the living standards of its members and employees. These include: Credit facilities for school fees and medical emergencies, provision of farm inputs on credit and field days to train framers on better farming methods.
Muburi factory is located in the village of Rwama, in the Gichugu division in Kirinyaga County. The nearest big town is Kianyaga (approximately 5km away), which is itself a couple of hours drive from the capital Nairobi. The annual rainfall in the area is approximately 1900 mm, divided in two rainy seasons. The altitude of the factory is 1600 metres. Muburi has a total of 1080 active members and is a part of the Rwama Cooperative Society. The cooperative has another factory called Muthigi-Ini, which has another 1700 smallholder farmer members. As is typical of this region, over 80% of all annual production is main crop, which means it is harvested between October and January. Coffee farmers in the area also cultivate maize, bananas and macadamia on their smallholdings.
Ihara Factory is located in Mwirua village, a few kilometres from Kerugoya Town in Kirinyaga. It was built back in 1970, and rests on a 5 acre piece of land. Ihara is part of the Mwirua Cooperative Society, together with the Kiriaini, Mitondo, Gatuya, Gathambi, Kiaragana, Kiambwe, Rwamuthambi and Riakiania factories. While Ihara gathers 900 active farmer members, the whole society has over 5800 members. The factory lies at about 1540 metres above sea level and recieves 1200 mm of rainfall annually. Ihara is run by a factory manager and 5 permanent staff, and hires casual workers during the peak season to weigh coffee cherry deliveries, supervise sorting, pay farmers and oversee processing. Ihara is rated 3rd place in terms of the quality of coffee production, amongst the group of stations in the cooperative.
All of these Kenyan coffees are fully washed and dried on raised African beds. Coffee is traditionally sold through the country's auction system, though recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world.
THE SPARKLING WATER DECAFFEINATION PROCESS:
This process was first discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaffeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaffeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caffeine in coffee. It is a gentle, natural and organically certified process and the good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees a high retention level of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.
The process is outlined below:
1.The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
2.After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
3.The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
4.This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
5.The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.
There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:
The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees.
The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.