Kamwangi wetmill (or factory) was established in 1983 and is one of 3 factories operated by New Ngariama Cooperative Society in Kirinyaga county. Kamwangi – managed by Lemmy Nyaga – has a membership of 1,500 and processes the varietals SL28, SL34 with small amounts of Batian and Ruiru 11. The smallholder farmer members typically have half an acre of land at altitudes of 1,100 – 1,800masl. As part of their membership, farmers gain access to pre-finance, training and inputs such as fertilizer.
The Art of Production
The coffee cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go into production. The pulp is removed and the coffee is fermented for 24-36 hours under close shade (subject to ambient conditions). After fermentation the coffees are washed and again graded by density in washing channels. They are then taken to the drying tables where they will be sun dried on raised African drying beds for 12 to 20 days (depending on weather conditions). Coffees are covered during the middle of the day to protect from sun damage and at night to protect from moisture and rain.
Kirinyaga county is located in Kenya’s central highlands. Directly south of Mount Kenya – the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro – the county’s farmers utilize the abundant altitude and rich volcanic soils of the mountain’s foothills to produce coffees characterized by their high quality, complexity and sweetness. Most farmers in the region are actually tea growers, but the climate and terroir is ideal for arabica cultivation.