Behind the Beans
Information about Kenya from our Producers:
Kenya is a country with a very efficient and quality driven coffee industry. Dominated by washing stations supplied by small farmers, Kenya boasts impressive quality in the cup, but the cup often lacks transparency . Dominated by huge multinational coffee companies, Kenyan coffee market is tricky to navigate. Coffee is most commonly traded in auctions and priced by its quality grade.
Once a smallholder brings her/his coffee to one of the washing stations the transparency ends. The farmer receives a price based on the quality and market price that fluctuates yearly. It's common that the producer only receives payment after the coffee is sold to a buyer.
Some co-operations choose to pursue a more independent approach through a "marketing agent" that is responsible for presenting the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. This often leads to low margins for the producer due to foul play.
It’s often hard for a coffee buyer to trace auction lots back to the farm level let alone know what farming methods and under what working conditions it has been produced.
Coffee sourcing company Belco introduced us to a young producer David Maguta. He’s running an ambitious project bringing together independent farmers under the name of Muruguru Estate Coffee Producers (MECOP). The model lets each farmer independently cultivate, harvest, process jand sell their coffees. MECOP rents time from one of the few independent coffee mills to sort their lots and process them to exporting condition. This means that each producer can offer a unique coffee and have control over its quality and pricing.
Some of the goals of MECOP are to start producing certified organic coffee and introduce new processing techniques.
Through this project we get to work directly with four producers including himself.
This region is also known for its production of potatoes, onions, wheat, cattle and milk. Nevertheless, we can observe a strong dependence of family income on coffee growing. Usually, Nariño coffees are well paid due to the high demand from international roasters and its high quality. The incomes are rather good for the families and many of them diversify their agricultural productions. The small size of their farms allows them to easily reduce production costs to get a good profit per harvest season.
VARIETY: SL28, Batian & Ruiru 11
FOB (per kg): TBA
PROJECT/ TRADER: Muruguru Estate Coffee Producers (MECOP)
ROASTER: Populus Coffee
ROAST PROFILE: Omniroast
TASTE NOTES: Blueberry Compote, Lemon Curd, Cacao nips