THE STORY BEHIND
Handege Coffee Mill or ‘factory’, is affiliated to the larger producer cooperative known as Ritho Society. Founded in 1972, Ritho works with coffee ‘factories’ throughout the area. The name “Handege” is derived from Ndege, the Swahili word for aeroplane.
Regional soils are well nourished with red volcanic rock, black cotton and patches of loam. Annual precipitation of 1000mm per year ensures that the soil is well saturated. Handege is a relatively small factory, with an annual production of about 150 metric tons. Cherries are pulped, fermented and washed, then sun-dried on raised African drying tables. Dry parchment is then taken to a dry mill for hulling and grading after which it is taken to a secure warehouse prior to Auction.
Similarly to other factories and estates in the same area, there is a nice range of indigenous shade trees and the area hosts all sorts of wild animals such as Antelopes, Hyenas, Porcupines, Squirrels, Anteaters, Monkeys and many others.
SL28 was bred by Scott Laboratories in 1931 from Tanganyika D.R, and has become very popular throughout Kenya and is recognised as a variety of exceptional cup quality. It has wide leaves with coppery tips. Beans are wide and productivity comparatively low. Though it is not substantiated that we can find, some sources claim that Scott Labs crossed mutations of French Mission, Mocha and Yemen Typica to produce the SL 28 variety. No matter the exact genetic composition, almost certainly their original goal was to create a plant with high quality, reasonable productivity and great drought resistance.
SL 34 is a mutation of French Mission, originating from the plantation of Loresho in Kabete, SL 34 has wide leaves with bronzy tips. It is widely grown throughout Kenya. SL 34 is valued for its high productivity in different climate conditions and great height ranges. It is also claimed to be resistant towards draught and strong rainfall.
THE FERMENTATION PROCESS
After harvesting the coffee is delivered to the factory and undergoes the wet processing method, water is pumped to the reservoir tanks for pulping and recirculation. After pulping the coffee is stored overnight, washed, soaked and spread on the drying on tables. The parchment is then frequently turned on the drying tables, sorted and then stored whilst it awaits delivery to the millers.