"Tegu" is a Kikuyu name, signifying a "low place," and it's also the name of the local river. Tegu Factory, a prominent washing station, is an integral part of the Tekangu Farmers' Cooperative Society (FCS). In recent years, this cooperative has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to the welfare of its farmers, returning over 85% of the sale price to them. Their ability to consistently secure prices above current market standards is a testament to the high quality of their coffee. Over the years, they have maintained a steadfast focus on quality, implementing robust traceability and quality control systems.
Tegu Factory procures cherries from around 1200 smallholders, each typically cultivating coffee on approximately 0.4 hectares of land. Their annual cherry production totals around 330 tons. An interesting aspect of their processing is their use of fresh river water for fermentation, which is then recycled and employed for pulping multiple times throughout the day, significantly reducing water consumption.
Tekangu Farmers' Cooperative Society (FCS):
Situated in Nyeri, in the heart of Central Kenya, the Tekangu Farmers' Cooperative Society plays a pivotal role in the production of exceptional coffee. Nyeri, perched on the slopes of Mount Kenya, along with its neighbouring region Kirinyaga, is renowned for its coffee, known for its intense, complex, and flavour-rich characteristics. The cooperative comprises primarily smallholder farms, each boasting around 100 coffee trees. These smallholders are organised into cooperative societies, which serve as umbrella organisations for the processing factories where they deliver their coffee cherries.
The journey of these cherries begins with meticulous hand sorting by the farmers, who painstakingly remove unripe and overripe cherries before they enter the production line. An Agaarde disc pulping machine is used to delicately remove the skin and pulp. The resulting coffees are carefully graded by density, with Grade 1 and Grade 2 cherries undergoing separate fermentation processes. Grade 3 cherries, considered to be of lower quality, are handled differently.Fermentation takes place over a span of 16-24 hours in shaded areas. After this stage, the coffees go through a rigorous washing process and are once again categorized by density in washing channels. Subsequently, they are soaked in clean stream water for 16-18 hours, ensuring their pristine quality.
Following the soaking process, the coffees are carefully laid out on hessian mesh mats for up to a day, after which they are moved to traditional drying tables. These tables are typically covered with jute cloth or shade nets, placed over wire mesh surfaces. The drying duration varies, ranging from 12 to 20 days, a timeframe influenced by the vagaries of weather and rainfall patterns.