I took my very first trip to Kenya back in 2014. My aim was not to meet producers but rather to get an insight into how the market works, and how we can improve the quality of the coffee we buy from Kenya.
Much of Kenya's coffee comes from cooperatives, which means it's tough to go to visit a person or build a long-term relationship. That said, it is possible to get something interesting going and to work on projects together by speaking with the leaders of the co-ops and washing stations.
Othaya Farmer's Cooperative is based at the Gatuyaini wet mill, just north of Othaya town. In the town there's a cupping room (and a talented QC person) and a new addition: a small roastery (where they hope to develop a market for their coffee inside Kenya). Othaya has many different wet mills in the co-operative, and we buy from one of the smallest – Chinga. Situated just south of Othaya town, the mill was built in the 1960s on the banks of the Gikira river.
Chinga wet mill is managed by the rather tall Gary John, whom we have asked to process a Natural lot for us. Chinga mill is located near to the town of Othaya, just east of the Chinga dam. It's approximately 5 KM southwest of the town, and is in the Nyeri county part of Kenya.
The mill has some 783 members, and each member owns only a small piece of land of an average 0.3 acres. They harvest the coffee themselves and then sell it to the mill, where it is processed and sent to the government auction.
The 'project' part of this coffee was that, way back in 2014, we asked the growers if they would Naturally process a batch for us. They kindly agreed to do so, as long as we promised to buy it regardless of the final cup.
As you might have guessed, that coffee was a big success. So here it is, back for another year! They thought I was crazy because only the poor quality coffee in Kenya gets Naturally processed, and they couldn't understand why I wanted only the best quality coffee processed in this way. But they did it. You're welcome! 😉
An homage to the best of Kenya and the best of Natural processing, this is full of bruisedplums and blueberries. There's a big kick of Blackjacksweets before the end brings the berries back with a shoulder of sweetbooze.