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The Kenyan coffee industry is dominated by a co-operative system of production. Many small holder farmers collect their harvest and bring them to a central mill close to their farm to have their coffee processed. The Mahiga Factory has 400 members that bring their cherry to be processed there. Kenyan coffees are sorted at the mill according to their size by using different sized screens, with the general assumption that the bigger beans are higher in quality. This lot is referred to as an “AB”, which means that it has beans from both A and B screen sizes. The A grade is sorted using a 6.8 mm screen while the B grade is sorted using a 6.2 mm screen. These two types of beans, A and B, are mixed together to form the grade Kenya AB
There is a generous supply of fresh water in the central growing regions of Kenya, which has historically allowed factories to process their coffees as a ‘double wash’. This process requires factories to wash, wash, soak and then wash their coffees again with entirely fresh, clean river water. Conversation is creeping into the discussion in certain drier places where water supplies have been effected by climate change about the sustainability of this process. But, for the most part Kenya continues to thoroughly wash and soak its coffee according to tradition.
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