Tegu is a coffee washing station, a wet mill, a coffee factory. Well, it's all three. A "factory" is a wet mill where the coop members bring coffee cherry for pulping, fermenting, washing, drying. It's not the factory as we might imagine it. Small washing stations are aligned with a particular "society" which is what they call a cooperative in Kenya. Tegu is part of Tekangu Farmers Cooperative Society (FCS) which combines the names for their 3 factories: Tegu, Karagoto and Ngunguru. I visited them this season and the previous as well, since we have bought many small lots over time from Tekangu. While most of the lots this year grade out as the smaller AB preparation, the quality from Tegu has been remarkable. And of the 2 lots we secured this season, this chop is the truly the best. What I saw at Tegu was excellent sorting of cherry at the mill by each picker, before they submit the coffee to be processed. Over-ripe and immature cherries are culled out. They also have a system where pickers are graded as A or B. "A" pickers are those who have been proven to deliver well-selected and sorted cherry, and they are invited to submit coffee on the "A" day, when a higher price is paid. "B" pickers are still yet-to-be-proven, or have had more immatures and over-matures in their bags. They must come on the lowly "B" day and are paid less. Maybe it seems harsh, but there is no better way I have seen to create an incentive for quality harvesting, rather than mindless strip-picking of the coffee tree. (By the way, this A and B picker system has nothing to do with the AA or AB grade, that refers to screen size of the coffee at the dry mill only. AA, AB and PB all comes from the exact same lot submitted to the dry mill, and is separated only by the coffee size screening equipment).
This is a classic main crop Kenya. The dry fragrance has a malt sugar smell, with a hint of sweet spiced tea. The darker roasts have increasingly potent brown sugar note on the grounds. The wet aroma has a touch of hop flower, with cardamom spice, vanilla bean, and floral sugar. At City+ the break is caramel all the way with just a hint of orange pekoe hiding in the back. The cup has a fruited character: currant, pomegranate, with a hard-candy sweetness in the finish. Let this coffee rest after roasting! I really can't state enough what even one more extra day of rest does for this coffee, the jammy acidity is fully integrated into the syrupy body and there's more complexity to the sweetness, with caramel and vanilla present. Dark berry notes that weren't apparent at 12 hours of rest really emerged at 24 hours rest, and were even more intense at 48 hours. C+ is really where this coffee's sweet spot is found, with nice body, orange marmalade, muscovado sugar... so sweet. The acidity has a nice citric quality you might expect from a Kenyan coffee. I think the balance, body and depth are welcome qualities. If you do take this coffee to the darker end of the roast spectrum, these Kenyan coffees make very interesting SO espressos. Give it a whirl!