Nyeri, Kenya, 2nd of February 2010 -
The Coffee Collective is now on the spot to look at the results from this years harvest in Kenya. We have been looking forward to this trip ever since last year when Peter Dupont was here. This is the time of the year when the farmers send their samples in to the drymills to be tested, classified and then sold to buyers from around the world. The nomenclature from the different stages in harvest and postharvest is different in different countries. And the exportprocess also varies. You can read more about how the Kenyan coffeeindustry is organized, how they grow and process in Peters report from last year.
Yesterday we drove up the highway early in morning from Nairobi heading for Nyeri. It’s a nice drive since this is coffeeland practically all the way to Mt Kenya. The area we are very found of is on the southwestern highplateau next to this impressive mountain.
Arriving at the drymill we already knew that there were farmers waiting to meet us. The drymill is where the coffeebeans are having their last processing before beeing ready to ship. We had no time to linger and went to off meet the farmers at the Tekangu society. After a short meeting at their office it was time to to have a look at the wetmill of Karaguto. A Society in Kenya is a gathering of wetmills and a wetmill is a gathering of many farms. Wetmills in Kenya are called factories, bur we will use the term wetmill here to keep this little report simple. The farms are quite small, so it is necessary for them to organize themselves to get access to all the facilities necessary to produce coffee of high and consistent quality. Peter from the drymill provided excellent help and was essential when explaining everything from the seed to the drymill.
It becomes very obviuos to any visitor that the work at the wetmill, society and finally drymill, is essential to what we as roasters receive. After Karaguto we went to see the wetmills of Nguruguru and finally Tegu.
This morning we had another busy day from the morning. We had to split to be able to do all the things we had planned. Casper stayed at the drymill to testroast some samples and I (Linus) went to see some more farms and wetmills at the Gikanda Society. I met with the chairman of the Society to discuss if there was any coffees that might be of interest to us and the future plans of both The Coffee Collective and the farmers of Gikanda. This is always rewarding- we are both working in the same field but at the same time we have very different conditions. For us it is extremely interesting to discuss how we both can improve and eventually find new ideas. I finally went around to see the wetmills of Gichathaini, Kangocho and Ndaroini. After many questions, discussions and approximately 1 million pictures it was time to return to the drymill. I was driving around together with Jeremaia who is doing an outstanding work in helping the farmers and communicating their needs to others.
I went to meet Casper at the drymill where he was just about to finish sampleroasting. It was very interesting to hear his first impressions from some of the places I had just visited. Erenest from the drymill had provided very much help to Casper and facilitated for us to roast to a degree thar we don´t know how to thank him. Tomorrow we are going to cup samples we roasted today and it´s going to to be a thrill!