Farm: Chepkube Factory
Varietal: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11& some Batian
Processing: Wet processed & sun dried on raised beds
Altitude: Approx.1,500 metres to1,950 metres above sea level
Owner: Various smallholder members of the Chepkube Co-operative Society
Town / City: Bungoma County
Region: Western Valley
Chepkube AA – Co2 Decaf - Kenya
This coffee was produced by numerous smallholder farmers, all of whom are members of the Chepkube Coffee Growers Cooperative Society (F.C.S), located in Bungoma County in the Kenya’s former Western province. The Chepkube Factory, where the Society’s 1,200 members process their coffee, lies in the foothills of Mount Elgon around 440km from Nairobi.
The Factory was established in 1968 and owned and democratically run by small holder members. Annual production reaches around 40 - 45 metric tons of clean coffee.
Although members of Chepkube have been farming coffee since the late 1960s, coffee growing in Western Kenya is relatively new. Much coffee in the region, admittedly, is grown at relatively low altitudes; however, Chepkube members benefit from high altitudes and rich, volcanic soil, making their coffee some of the highest quality from the region.
Coffee cultivation has improved the livelihood of members significantly and has had positive impact on infrastructure, education, water, and access to other resources. Coffee cultivation is the only cash crop for most families, apart from subsistence and dairy farming.
Screen sizing in Kenya
The AA, AB and other grades used to classify lots in Kenya are an indication of screen size only. They are not any indication of cup quality. The AA grade in Kenya is equivalent to screen size 17 or 18 (17/64 or 18/64 of an inch) used at other origins. AA grades often command higher prices at auction though this grade is no indication of cup quality and an AB lot from a better farm may cup better.
Description of the CR3 Natural Liquid Carbon Dioxide Coffee Decaffeination Process (European patent no. 0316694, US patent no. 5135766)
One of the vital elements and most important compounds of our natural environment is carbon dioxide. It is in the air we breathe, it is the gas that makes mineral water effervescent and, by assimilation, enables plants to grow. It is also a highly selective solvent for caffeine. Based on this phenomenon, CR3 developed its Natural Liquid Carbon Dioxide Coffee Decaffeination Process. In this patented process, the natural carbon dioxide is used under sub-critical conditions, i.e. in a liquid state at low temperature and pressure (relative to the supercritical process). These particularly gentle process parameters, together with the good caffeine selectivity of CO2, guarantee a high retention rate of the coffee components responsible for aroma and taste. The process can be described in detail as follows:
The raw, unroasted coffee is moistened with water and put into a vessel where it is brought into contact with pressurised, liquid carbon dioxide. By circulation through the coffee, the carbon dioxide draws the caffeine out of the bean. In an evaporator, the caffeine precipitates out from the CO2 which, after evaporation and re-condensation, is pumped again into the vessel containing the coffee for a new cycle. When the required residual caffeine level is reached, the CO2 circulation is stopped and the coffee is discharged into a drier where it is gently dried until it reaches the original moisture content. The coffee is then ready for roasting.
The specific characteristics of the CR3 Natural Liquid Carbon Dioxide Coffee Decaffeination Process are:
- the compounds responsible for the flavour and the taste in the roasted and brewed coffee, as well as the cell structure of the green and roasted bean, are left essentially intact. This is of clear benefit in fine, high grade coffees
- absolutely no health risk involved since the coffee is placed in contact with only 100% safe substances – the chemically-inert (and completely evaporating) carbon dioxide, and pure water
- the extraction solvent is all natural – an important aspect that represents a strong selling point (“Naturally Decaffeinated”)
- certification as Organic and Kosher by the appropriate organisations/authorities
- a broad appeal that allows the roaster to offer a high-quality 99.9% caffeine-free decaffeinated coffee that will satisfy even the most discriminating taste