Eaagads Estate is a coffee farm owned by Eaagads Company Limited (a company that is listed in the Nairobi stock Exchange). The farm is situated in Kiambu County’s Thika Division – an area that gave birth to the earliest coffee farms in the country.
Established by Catholic Missionaries the Estate was held by colonial settlers well into the 20th century. Even though the company was recently founded (in the 1940s), it underwent major organisational changes only a few years after. In the 1950s, it was split into three separate farms, all bordered by the Chanya river to their north, with different titles being commuted to different shareholders. Due to this, today the coffee plantations on the Estate is split into two parts, as the middle farm was converted out of coffee. This is the reason why, even after the reunification, the farm will present an “upper” part (Karomono) and a “lower” (Dichanu) separated by a non-coffee land (Karangayita) lies between them.
Today a 61.7% share in the farm is owned by Kofinaf – one of the largest coffee growers in the country who also have managed the farm for many years. The link between the two companies is strong and extends even to staffing. Simon Oug’ayo has managed the farm for the past 8 years and has worked for Kofinaf for 28!
Eaagads is committed to improve workers conditions and it always make sure that all collective bargaining agreements are respected. They provide housing for all of their 47 permanent employees. They understand their other social economic responsibilities and this is the reason why they are focused not only on pay a cheque but to create benefits for workers and neighbouring communities.
Needless to say, all agricultural activities executed on the farms – from pruning to fertilisation – are committed with an impressive stringency and attention to detail. As they are a larger farm, their change of cycle method works on the rotation of two stumps rather than three, but otherwise, Coffee Research Institute best practices are used throughout. The same goes for processing.
During the harvest, a great deal of effort goes into ensuring that quality is maintained. The farm hires between 400 and 600 people at the peak of the harvest, all of whom are well–trained in quality harvesting methods. Only the ripest cherries are picked at each pass. These are delivered on the same day to the ‘factory’ (as Kenyan washing stations/wet mills are called), sorted to remove any damaged or underripe cherries, and pulped. The pulped coffee is then fermented for around 12 hours before being fully washed to remove all the remaining mucilage.
After coffee is washed it is left to rest under circulating, clean water in the factory’s soaking tanks for around 24 hours. Once soaked and clean, the parchment is first delivered to pre-drying tables (with slightly larger screen holes) for around two hours. Here it will be sorted, again, as it loses excess surface moisture, before it is delivered to the main drying beds.
Usually drying times are around 10 to 12 days until the coffee reaches the optimal humidity of 10 to 11%. Coffee is turned and sorted every two hours or so and is covered during the hottest part of the day to prevent splitting and to promote even drying.
May 2, 2022