Station: Tekangu Tegu
Sub Region: Nyeri
Variety: SL28, Ruiri11
Drying: African dry beds
The Tegu factory is one of the wet mills owned and operated by the Tekangu Farmers Cooperative Society near the town of Karatina in Nyeri. Famed for quality and fertility of the soil the society was founded in 1969 and currently has around 1200 members with an average of just under half a hectare each across 5 villages. Tegu actually translates as ‘low place’ as it lies in the foothills between Mount Kenya to the north east, and the Aberdaire range to the west. Tekangu FCS run not only Tegu, but the Karogoto and Ngunguru wet mills as well.
Consisting of 3 centralised collection points covering farms up to around 6km from the mill itself, 18 fermentation tanks are ready to receive the cherry as it arrives. First hand sorted for green cherries or overripes, cherries are depulped on a disc pulper, it undergoes an overnight ‘dry’ fermentation before being washed and then fermented under water. The cherry is then washed again before being rested in the soaking tanks, and then moved to the raised beds on the gentle slops outside. It is common for the cherries to be covered at night and midday to help maintain temperatures.
Ruiru 11 is a high yielding plant with an interesting lineage, being a complex progeny of crossings between SL28, Catimor, K7, N9 and Sudan Rume, SL34 and Bourbon. Released to farmers in 1985, it stems from work done at the coffee research station in Ruiru, just north of Nairobi and to the south of Nyeri. True Ruiru 11 is an F1 plant, but in practice, this is a composite variety with the tall male complex hybrid and compact Catimor female plants producing seeds that are mixed together and distributed incurring some heterogeneity in the resulting plants, but that open pollinate instead of requiring hand pollination.