5,000 trees of SL28 & 200 trees Ruiru 11
Dry Fermentation, Washed, Overnight Soak, Dried on Raised Beds
October 2018 - January 2019
Kibugu Village, Embu County
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Kenyan coffee industry was on the edge of collapse. Farmers began to abandon the crop, fearing bottomed-out prices and easy exploitation by middlemen. But Kithinji Kabiru did the opposite. Instead of pulling out, he began to invest in processing his coffee himself, adding value to the raw cherries.
Kithinji now cultivates 17 acres at his farm, Mbeguka. By managing his crop intensively – amending the soil with natural, manure fertilizer and hand weeding constantly throughout the growing season – Kithinji is able to consistently raise a bumper crop. As cherries ripen during the harvest, Kithinji and his crew pick coffee in six to seven harvests. They select only perfectly mature fruit and, after being collected, the cherries are depulped, dry fermented for 24 hours, soaked for another day, and finally dried on raised beds. Last year Mbeguka yielded roughly sixty-five bags of this exceptional green coffee.
This is our sixth year working directly with Kithinji. In 2013, our exporting partners began to separate out specific, single-farmer lots, allowing us to develop direct relationships with our farmers in Kenya. This shift from an anonymous market to a transparent, producer-tethered exchange was a welcome change, and one we had been pushing for for a decade. By shifting to a connection based on a relationship, instead of just a transaction, we are able to learn the stories and struggles of our farmer partners and gain insight into how we can better support them and their craft.
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