Kathare Estate AA

  • Country
  • Region
    Central Kenya
  • County
  • Estate
  • Owner
    Richard Kiama and wife Beatrice Muthoni Murithi
  • Estate Elevation
    1,600m above sea level
  • Estate Size
    Three hectares
  • Variety
    SL28, Ruiru 11
  • Coffee Grade
  • Processing
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2024

Nashi pear, grilled plum and honeysuckle, with good structure and acidity. Mild paper on the finish.

This coffee is currently featured as one of our ‘Special Offers’.

While we loved the Kathare Estate lots at offer stage, the coffees have unfortunately landed with slight age in the cup. Both the AB and AA lots still present bright and juicy acidity with stone fruit and brown sugar sweetness, however, there is mild paper and dryness on the finish. These coffees will perform well with more development, to produce a bold single espresso or add depth to a blend. To accurately represent their quality, we have priced them at cost — offering exceptional value on a fully traceable single estate Kenyan lot, sourced with responsible practices. 

Kathare is a small, three-hectare estate located in Kirinyaga County, owned and managed by Richard Kiama and wife Beatrice Muthoni Murithi (pictured above). The farm sits at 1,600 meters above sea level in the foothills of the extinct volcano, Mt Kenya, close to the town of Kerugoya. The area is defined by its bright red, nutrient-rich, volcanic soil and cool climate, both of which contribute to the outstanding quality of the coffees produced on this farm.

Richard and Beatrice purchased the land and planted it with coffee in 2006. At the time of planting, the couple chose the SL-28 variety that is commonly found in central Kenya, specifically because it produces a high-quality flavour profile. They have also planted a small amount of Ruiru 11, a hardier, hybrid that is very popular among farmers as it has been bred for high yields and disease resistance. The varieties are harvested and processed together, as separation is challenging to achieve during the busy harvest period.

In 2016, Richard and Beatrice built a small wet mill – or factory, as they are called in Kenya – on their land. This facility enables the couple to process and dry their crop onsite, rather than selling fresh, whole cherry to the local Farmers’ Society Cooperative. By processing their coffee independently, Richard and Beatrice are able to control every step of production directly – from farming, to harvesting, processing, drying and sale – ensuring the full potential of the crop is achieved in terms of quality and sale price. The resulting coffee lot reflects the incredible amount of hard work and attention to managing every single variable that influences quality.

Choosing to process the coffee independently is not easy—or cheap. Managing processing on such a small scale has required significant investment in infrastructure, equipment and staff. It is also far costlier to mill and market small volume lots than large day lots. This investment has paid off, however, as Kathare now produces high-quality lots which can fetch higher prices at the point of sale.

Richard and Beatrice are members of the Kirinyaga Arabica AA Farmer’s Group, which was founded by MCM’s long-time producing partner, Joseph Karaba of Kabumbu Estate in 2023. A meticulous and quality-focused farmer, Joseph formed the group to share resources and education and to assist his neighbouring producers in accessing a premium market for their coffees.


Kirinyaga County is part of Kenya’s former Central Province, which was dissolved in 2013. The area includes Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Nyandarua Counties, and is traditionally the homeland of people of Kikiyu ethnicity. The central highlands of Kenya are considered to be one of the wealthiest areas of the country, due to the incredibly fertile land, geographical proximity to the capital, Nairobi, and close integration with the country’s colonial administration before Kenya gained independence in 1962. This integration afforded the communities of Central Kenya with opportunities for education, business and political prowess, despite the various injustices of the colonial government. The Kikiyu people have a long and proud history of agriculture and the region is farmed intensively, with coffee, tea and dairy being the most important modern crops.


Many of the producers in the region are second-generation landholders, whose parents would have purchased and planted the land in the 1950s and 1960s, after agricultural reform allowed for small Kenyan farmers to produce cash crops on their family farms (instead of only on large, British owned estates). Farmers in Kirinyaga grow coffee as a cash crop alongside food crops like banana, maize, macadamia, avocados and vegetables. Tea and dairy are also important sources of income for the producers.


Kenya uses a grading system for all its exportable coffee lots. The grading system is based on the size and assumed quality of the bean. A coffee’s grade is directly correlated with the price it attracts at auction or through direct trade.


This coffee is graded as an AA. This grade relates to the size (in this case, AA means that the beans are screen size 18 and above). More AA grade coffee is found in Central Kenya than anywhere else in the country, thanks to the high elevations which allow for greater late yields. These later yield cherries have the benefit of better weather, with optimum sunshine and a longer period for the sugars to develop and when they are finally picked, they are typically fuller, redder and heavier than cherries grown in other areas.


The coffee was carefully handpicked by Richard, Beatrice and their family, along with any seasonal workers required. During the peak of the harvest, cherries are picked every two weeks, to ensure they have adequate time to ripen between passes. After sorting, the ripe, red cherry was pulped using a pulping machine, which removes the skin and fruit from the inner parchment layer that protects the green coffee bean.

The coffee was then dry fermented for 12-24 hours, to break down the sugars and remove the mucilage (sticky fruit covering) from the outside of the beans. Whilst the coffee was fermenting it was checked frequently, and when ready it was rinsed and removed from the tanks.

Using clean water from nearby rivers, the parchment-covered coffee was then washed and graded in water channels, before being transferred to raised drying tables. During the drying stage, which takes up to three weeks, the drying parchment was turned constantly to ensure it is dried evenly, until it reached 11–12% humidity. Once ready, coffee transported to the Embu County Mill to be dry milled and prepared for shipping.


Kathare is named after the nearby local village of Kathare, in Kirinyaga County.


This is our first year of purchasing Richard and Beatrice’s coffee, a new relationship for MCM since Kenya’s 2023 coffee reform. You can read more about the reforms here, and how we are moving forward with our Kenyan sourcing program here.