The Gakundu Factory is located at 1650 masl in the location of Ngandori West in Emby County which borders the foothills of Mount Kenya. The factory is part of the Gakundu Farmer's Society which has about 1250 active members in total. The washing station is managed by Godfrey Gicovi who oversees all quality controls at the station to ensure high quality coffees are produced.
From funds set aside from the previous year’s harvest, members of the co-operative can access pre-financing for school fees, access to farm inputs and funds for emergency needs. The factory is receiving assistance from a field partner- Coffee Management Services (CMS). The long term goal is to increase coffee production through farmer training, access to input and education.
In line with the rising awareness on the need to conserve the environment, the factory has dug the waste water soak pits away from the water source where the waste water is allowed to soak in back to the soil.
Coffee is handpicked by the smallholder members and delivered to the Gakundo factory where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature ‘mbuni’s (floaters) using water floatation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24 hours. This soaking process allows amino acids and proteins in the cellular structure of each bean to develop which results in higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup - it is thought that this process of soaking contributes to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are so famed for. The beans are then transferred to the initial drying tables where they are laid in a thin layer to allow around 50% of the moisture to be quickly removed. This first stage of drying can last around 6 hours before the beans are gathered and laid in thicker layers for the remaining 5-10 days of the drying period. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised cells made of chicken wire which allows the coffee to breathe fully.