Kenya – Karimikui PB

FLAVOR NOTES:
TBA

Factory : Karimikui
Co-Operative : Runget’o Cooperative Society
Owners/Farmers : Around 500 smallholders
Variety : SL28 & SL34 (Peaberry)
Process : Washed
Region : Kirinyaga
Altitude (masl) : 1500-1900
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Our Kenyan coffee comes from Kirinyaga County from a coffee factory called Karimikui. The factory is a part of a Cooperative Society called Rungeto and it has over 500 smallholder producers as members.

Kenyan coffees are famous for their powerful aromas, crisp and refreshing acidity and clean flavor notes full of sweet berries and fruits. And Karimikui PB does not make an exception in this.

Rungeto Cooperative has an important role in developing the surrounding community. Additionally to processing coffee they have also invested in dairy cooling plant and fuel station that have created extra job opportunities. Furthermore, farmers can diversify their income with the milk from their cows.

Cooperatives and Coffee Factories – like Karimikui

Kenyan coffee producers are traditionally smallholders producing a few bags of coffee cherries per year. Thus it makes more sense to join forces with neighboring producers to process the cherries and start a Coffee Factory. Coffee Factories such as Karimikui are essentially washing and processing stations. Often Factories are also a part of a Cooperation which runs several factories simultaneously.  Cooperatives take care of the marketing and selling the coffees forward on behalf of the whole community.

Every smallholder producer bringing their cherries to washing stations is also a member of that Factory and therefore that Cooperative. The members choose the management democratically thus making all the members also representatives of its governing board.

In Kenya the coffee prices are directly linked to cup quality. Thus Coffee Factories as well as Cooperatives need to have good management in order to gain good prices for the coffees for their members. The management has the final responsibility to overlook the quality of the arriving cherries. Only cherries that are red and mature result in high cup quality with desired flavor notes.

Kenyan Coffee Screening

Kenyan coffees are primarily but certainly not exclusively graded by their physical characteristic. First they are screened for their size and there’s altogether 13 different grades of which PB, AA and AB are the most commonly known. AA and AB are the biggest beans.

PB (Peaberry) is a special bean that occurs when there’s only one bean inside the coffee cherry instead of two and they count to approximately 5% of all coffee beans. Peaberries are a little smaller in size and round in their shape. This also results in different kind of flavor profile.

Duromina – Ethiopia

FLAVOR NOTES:
MANDARIN, BLACK TEA, FLORAL

Co-Operative : Duromina
Owners/Farmers : Over 270 smallholders
Variety : Ethiopian Heirloom
Process : Washed
Region : Jimma, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1900-2100
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Duromina co-operation sits in a remote neighbourhood of Boto in Jimma region, south-western Ethiopia. Today it has more than 270 smallholders. The farmers cultivate Ethiopian heirloom coffee trees in small homesteads under the shade of indigenous Acacia trees. No agrochemicals are used for the farming, making the coffee completely natural.

The farmers of Duromina Co-operative place high value on developing their co-op, sustainability and helping others. Farmers are very willing to pass on their knowledge and educate other farmers on the methods they have found useful.

Duromina recently bought a new demucilager, the first of its kind in Ethiopia. It uses up to 75% less water thus creating significantly smaller ecological footprint. After depulping the coffee cherries , coffee is soaked overnight and clean parchment is dried in the sun for 7-10 days. Duromina built a second washing station and expanded their cherry collection sites in 2013. In 2016 they added a third washing station with an even lower water impact. They divert the water used at their washing stations through a filtering area before it returns to the rive. Left over pulp from the processing of the coffee cherries is mixed with soil to be used as a fertiliser.

TechnoServe’s CoffeeInitiative and Duromina

Duromina, like many other co-ops in Ethiopia got their start with TechnoServe’s CoffeeInitiative in 2010. TechnoServe is an  international nonprofit that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world by linking people to information, capital and markets. With the help of a substantial financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the organisation launched their most ambitious program CoffeeInitiative with a goal to increase the incomes of 182,000 smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa.

TechnoServe’s Coffee initiative changed all of this by creating financial and technological possibilities for communities better the coffee quality and thus increase their income. With the technical support, business advice and finance from TechnoServe the original 113 founding farmers acquired and installed a wet mill and began processing fully washed coffee for the first time. As a result their coffee quality jumped to new levels and an international panel of professional judges picked the co-op’s coffee as “the best in Africa” only two years later.

Followed by the vast growth in the quality and recognition of their coffees, farmers were able to get a 65% premium over the international commodity price. This in return made it possible for the co-op to pay back their initial loan in just one year.

Improving their lives

Duromina means “improve their lives” in Afan Oromo language and this is exactly what this co-op has done. And not only to the original 113 farmers involved but for heir whole community. They have also used the increased income in bettering the lives of their whole community. For example they have built a bridge to keep their remote village connected to neighbouring markets and clinics even during the rainy season and flooding rivers. The village has also renewed their roofs, solar power and primary school all the way through eighth grade. Families are also able to send their children to secondary school in nearby Agaro and even to universities. There’s also plans to connect their village to the electrical grid in the near future.

As a result TechnoServe is regarding Duromina as an outstanding success story of rapidly growing business receiving exceptionally high returns from US Market.

Munyinya Hill – Burundi

Photo by : Long Miles Coffee Project, Burundi

FLAVOR NOTES:
Ripe plum, bergamot, raspberry

Farmer : Multiple small farms
Producer : Long Miles Coffee Project
Washing Station : Bukeye
Variety : Red Bourbon

Process : Washed
Region : Kayanza
Altitude (masl) : 1830m
Harvest Method : Handpicking

Munyinya Hill comes from Long Miles Coffee Project as all our coffees from Burundi. LMCP is a remarkable farmer focused initiative by a small American family who are truly a source of inspiration and an example where perseverance,  hard work, risk taking and having love towards people can take you.

Kristy and Ben Carlson started out with a dream to facilitate direct relationships between roasters and farmers, and as a result better the quality of coffee and the lives of the farmers. We are very proud to be apart of this coffee community and grateful for the Carlson family for making it happen. Their project enables us to work as directly with Burundian coffee farmers as possible.

Bukeye is LMCP’s first coffee processing station and it’s located in the northern parts of Kayanza province. The quality standards are high on both of their processing stations. This has helped them to minimize a lot of defects and to ensure clean and well-balanced cup notes. One of their most successful implementations has been in forming ‘coffee scout teams‘ that travel from village to village to teach farmers about best agricultural practices and how to manage the potato defect by picking, by hand, antestia bugs that infect coffee cherries. They also have a ‘six hour pick-to-process quality timing mark‘ which means that coffee cherries arriving to the station get straight into processing.

Washed coffee

In washed processing, also known as the wet process, the coffee cherries are first pulped as they arrive to the washing station to remove the outer layer of skin. After this the beans ferment in water with the mucilage still attached for at least a couple of days. And finally they are washed in order to remove the mucilage. Generally washed coffees result in cleaner more refined cups in comparison to natural or honey processed coffees.

Read more about the Long Miles Coffee Project on their website!