Cooperative – Kiawamururu
Altitude – 1600 – 1800 masl
Location – Central Province, close to Nyeri, foothills of Mt Kenya, Aberdares
Preparation – Washed, sun dried on raised African beds
Varietal – SL28 & SL34
Coffee was introduced to Kenya by the British with seeds from neighbouring Ethiopia and also from Reunion (Bourbon) island. The development of hybrids during the 1950s brought about the highly successful varietals, SL28 and SL34 – coffees that are now world famous and highly admired for their wonderful complexity in the cup with unrivalled lemony acidity. The best coffees in Kenya are produced by the cooperatives of which there are around 300 comprised of between half a million to 600,000 smallholder members. About 60% of Kenya’s coffee is produced on cooperatives with estates and plantations making up the balance. Typically a smallholding or ‘shamba’ is comprised of shade-grown coffee, a house, the family cow and a good variety of vegetables and fruit for the use of the family.
The coffee is handpicked and delivered to the cooperative ‘factory’ where it is pulped, washed and sundried on African drying tables. Parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill where it will be prepared for export before being sold via the country’s auction system. Recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world. It is this system our importers have chosen since they believe it brings about better returns for the smallholder.
Kiawamururu is one of eight factories / secondary cooperatives of the Rumukia Society and is situated on the slopes of the Mount Kenya and Aberdares mountains in the Central Province. It is comprised of 561 members who own farms that average half a hectare in size with around 250 trees each. The region has deep fertile soils, rich in organic matter and rainfall is abundant.
Kiawamururu Factory has several initiatives aimed at uplifting the living standards of its members and employees. These include: Credit facilities for school fees and medical emergencies, provision of farm inputs on credit and field days to train farmers on better farming methods.