While Thunguri’s coffee has always been great, Peter’s input undoubtedly brought it to the next level. Peter’s work this last season focused largely on fermentation. He’s been finding that pushing the fermentation further has resulted in more complexity and better overall cup quality.
Traditionally, factories would follow the advice of the Kenya Coffee Research Institute and continue fermentation until the coffee feels gritty, indicating that the mucilage has broken down. This is a safe endpoint because it avoids the negative fermentation defects, but Peter believes it’s too early. He advocates for pushing it until a very slight vinegar aroma is present and then stopping it immediately. This method requires precise timing and control to ensure fermentation is even; otherwise, it can ruin the coffee.
It’s hard to argue with his results, as this year’s Thunguri is truly excellent. This year’s coffee was also dry milled at the Othaya Mill, which is such a well-run operation that it allowed the quality to be realized.
Thuguri is technically part of the Rumukia Co-op (along with Kiawamururu, another excellent coffee we have carried in years past), but the Co-op is in the process of disbanding. A bit like a marital divorce, the process is complex and takes time. A number of years ago, I knew that the factories of the Co-op were marketing with different agencies, which is not unheard of, but an ununified approach to selling coffee seemed like writing on the wall, pointing to an eventual breakup.
The kicker came when the Rumukia Co-op ambitiously built a dry mill, but the farmers of the Co-op didn’t all like to have their cherry payout deducted to cover the cost of paying back the loans used to start it. This caused them to close down the mill and go their separate ways.
I hope that works out for each factory, and the farmers involved are happy with the outcome! These challenges have not affected quality though, as both Thunguri and Kiawamururu are both amazing this season.
I cupped through all of Thunguri’s production this season, and I’m pleased to report that in my view, we bought the best lot/outturn of the harvest, submitted to the Othaya Mill on week 14 of the harvest.
As with all of our coffees, the green coffee was frozen immediately upon arrival to Calgary, to preserve all its goodness for you to enjoy!