Coffee quality is a product of altitude and processing. One of the truisms of coffee growers is that the bean is at its finest the moment the ripe cherry is picked from the tree. The only thing the grower can do from then on is to diminish the quality - he can in no way improve on it. This means that as growers our responsibility is to pick only the ripest most perfect fruits and process them as perfectly as possible to bring out the full taste that nature put into them.
Lekali Coffee Estate has planted more than 20,000 of well adopted coffee varieties of “Coffee Arabica” especially recommended for altitudes ranging above 900 meters. All our coffees were germinated in our own nursery to make sure we get the best coffee beans. Prior to our plantation phase in the estate, we prepared a 20 by 20 inch of pits with the necessary fertilizers required for the coffee plants. Subsequently all the rocks and harmful weed were also removed from the pits prior to the plantation.
At Lekali we start by carefully instructing those who hand pick the fruit, to only pick the completely ripe, red fruits. They are paid a premium for this. Every day, as the coffee is received in our processing plant, each harvester's production for the day is weighed and inspected for defects or green beans.
The coffee is then depulped within a few hours of being picked, preliminarily sorted, and the mucilage coat removed. We use both modern pulping machines and hand pulper to pulp those exocarp of the coffee cherries. We at Lekali process our coffees fully washed, and ferment those mucilage coated beans in our special fermentation tanks to break down the mucilage. The coffee is then 'pre-dried' to remove surface water either in the sun or by machine. Final drying to 12% moisture is then done slowly using concrete patio and raised beds. When finished, the green bean is dried to export standards and still covered with a thin paper like covering called parchment. At Lekali we store these parchments in burlap bags at this point, labeling each with a lot number and store the coffee in our warehouse where temperature and humidity is monitored.
This has been a very adventure filled project contributing to reforestation, soil conversation, and wildlife preservation especially in connection with proving shelter to both migratory and non migratory birds.