Kenya Muranga Gondo
Double Washed Peaberry
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Red volcanic soil sets the stage for this month’s Roaster’s Choice selection, a double-washed peaberry called Kenya Muranga Gondo. We’re really looking forward to this one. With notes of guava, mandarin, and tea biscuit and a near-heavenly growing elevation of 1,900 meters, how could you not be excited?
Collectively grown by 727 micro-lot producers who process at the Gondo Factory, managed by New Kiriti Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Muranga Gondo comes from a geographically unique pocket of Kenya. Muranga County is situated between several coffee powerhouses—Kiambu County to the south and Nyeri, Kirinyaga, and Embu to the north—so the terroir and climatic factors that foster excellent coffees there extend inward to Muranga County.
The work is meticulous at Gondo. Cherries are hand-sorted and floated for density before they’re selected for depulping each day. Each family farms a half-acre plot. Individual producers are allotted 250 coffee trees each. Smaller lots make for better coffee because farmers don’t have to maintain large swathes of land, allowing them to focus more on quality over quantity.
The coffee varieties sown across Muranga County between 1920 and 2010, however, are high yielding. SL28 and SL34 are Bourbon-Typica, resistant to coffee berry disease and leaf rust. Batian is similarly resistant, a composite variety of seven other varieties, including SL28 and SL34. Lastly, the variety that saved Kenyan coffee, Ruiru 11. An F1 Hybrid, Ruiru 11 was bred in response to the 1968 coffee berry disease epidemic that claimed half of Kenya’s harvest. Ruiru is compact, resistant to coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease, and can be planted densely, which helped the nation come back from the disaster.
Every month, Roaster’s Choice gets more and more thrilling. It’s not just the once-in-a-lifetime coffees, it’s the history and bright futures of the farmers we’re sourcing from. You’d never know truly how much goes into that first sip—the struggles, successes, simplicity, and complexity. Coffee is so much more than something that gets you going. Each story alone is enough to keep you going.