Earlier this year, I travelled to Kenya to gain first-hand experience and a better insight into the Kenyan coffee industry. Interested in meeting some of the producers we have previously worked with, I was really keen to get a deeper understanding of the impact our demands as roasters have on origin. Especially when looking at our choices around coffee grades, scores and direct purchasing vs auction buying.
Carved into different “sub-sectors” the Kenyan coffee industry has been and still is transforming. From large, established, even famous organisations, private estates, small and medium-sized cooperatives, emerging farmer-groups, agents and auctions, the trade networks can get crowded. I realised that each country’s supply chain has its own unique challenges, and Kenya is no different.
As a part of the Falcon contingent, I learnt a lot, met incredible people and cupped a lot of coffee. Since then, we have been working on a few projects around how being a reliable partner to producers translates into how we buy and sell coffee.
In reference to quality, traditional grading systems, producer groups, and the fact that peaberries are highly praised in Kenya, the first project hitting the ground is the Peaberry Collective. Opening the floor is a small cooperative Karinga Factory, followed by a farmers-group Slopes of 8, and closing the collective is a well established cooperative, Kiamaina Factory. Each coffee is special and every person, player and link in the chain crucial to keeping the Kenyan coffee industry healthy and in balance. The Peaberry Collective aims to explain this supply chain in more detail.
Established in 1983 and with 500 active members, Karinga Factory is considered a small cooperative and forms a part of the Gitwe Farmers Cooperative Society. As the opening act for the Peaberry Collective, the clean acidity, sweet fruity and floral notes of the Karinga PB is exemplary of the quality and flavour, small cooperatives such as this drive.
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