Gatina Washing Station sits a few kilometers outside the Coffee town of Karatina in Nyeri County, between the western slopes of Mt. Kenya and the eastern slopes of the Aberdares mountains. Mugaga Farmers’ Cooperative Society manages the farm. Today, the station receives cherry from 790 members. Of those, 280—over 30%—are women.
Small farm sizes of just a few hundred trees per producer mean that farming families can more easily apply specialty coffee cultivation techniques. Thanks to their focus and support from Mugaga Farmers’ Cooperative Society, the typical Kenyan profile in this coffee is carefully preserved from the members’ fields to the dry mill and beyond.
The 790 members of Gatina station cultivate a total of 142 hectares, and this breaks down to about a tenth of a hectare—or a few hundred trees—per producer. Such small coffee ‘gardens’ make it vital to focus on specialty processing and increase the value per kilogram of cherry picked.
Farm labor is usually entirely provided by family members, which can often make maintaining specialty cultivation and picking practices easier. Many producers also grow tea, maize, and legumes to consume or sell at local markets for additional cash income.
Mugaga Farmers’ Cooperative Society manages five washing stations and has over 4,800 member producers. In addition to managing washing stations that help their members garner high prices for their coffee, Mugaga works to alleviate many barriers to success that frequently thwart their members.
Many members have low yields due to a lack of inputs, older rootstock, and attacks from pests and disease.
Mugaga provides resources to help member producers improve yields. They also have programs that focus on increasing participation among young people and women in coffee. As we can see from their numbers, they have been very successful so far. A full third of their members are women, impressive when compared to many other cooperative gender ratios.
cup tasting notes.
red currant, sour cherry, tulip
Exceptional quality of SL28 & SL34 blend with winey currant like acidity. Taste of sour cherry with high viscosity and heavy weight. Lingering sweet aftertaste with notes of liquorice.
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