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KENYA

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HANDS ON COFFEE, BY

CESAR MAGANA

Kenya is a very famous country in the world of specialty coffee. High-altitude conditions, varieties and a specific process offering unique characteristics are just some of the things that make their coffees so original.


The 'Kenyan washed' process is very characteristic, so present in the minds of roasters and consumers that they often forget that it’s possible that Kenyan coffees can be processed differently. But to achieve this signature process, Kenyan producers are the world champions in water consumption...


During a cupping in our agency in Addis, Jacques showed me some of his research on these farms and their histories…my eyes immediately sparkled. The farms were quite like those I’m familiar with in Latin America, with for example shade fruit trees, banana trees and timber trees…


Why not develop a project with these farmers to reduce the environmental impact of their production?
The aim is to reduce the use of water by developing the natural process, improve the quality and consequently increase their income.
We immediately think of David Maguta, who is a producer and exporter in Nyeri region that Belco trusts, one aware of the importance of traceability and of environmental responsibility. It was an immediate match!


Thanks to Jacques' visits to Kenyan farms, we have built up strong relations with small producers and increased recognition of the Belco name

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HANDS ON COFFEE project is born!


Belco finances drying tables, GrainPro bags and work materials, including humidity meters. I plan my trip to Kenya to train producers during the harvested and post-harvest with the precious help of David, a real message carrier and coordinator on site.


In the first few hours, we achieved a lot, sorting warehouses, identifying lots, using GrainPro bags and, more importantly, improving the drying technique. We realised we would need to build more drying tables and correct some practices. We put some bad habits right, causing mouldy grains, unwanted moisture and overheating, in addition to various operations carried out also in other plantations. We repeated the process in each farm of the Embu and Nyeri regions.


Then began a period of long days spent visiting three to four farms daily, observing how humidity affects the coffee in these high-altitude zones, training Maguta staff on the importance of ventilation and temperature control, and giving daily training for producers on the importance of selecting only very ripe fruit. The HANDS ON COFFEE team worked alongside several producers, for whom the drying techniques flowed naturally and smoothly.
We communicated our vision of natural coffees to all involved and showed how the hands of each person contribute to a coffee’s original taste. Agricultural practices and drying techniques have a great influence on coffees, and we also explained that although we at Belco encourage harvesting of ripe fruit, they are the farmers, and that we appreciate and value their open minds. We hope this will have a positive impact on the main contributors to the supply chain.


Today, I'll let you discover these coffees for the first time. The question now is: will we be able to stand by our promise and make 2021/2022 the crop for honey process too ?

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EMBU THIKA : 

Paul Gachora

Boyce Harris, Chania & Oreti Estates

NYERI :

Martin Mamicha, Magic Estate

Paul Kiguta, Mariine Estate

James Gachichi, Maana Estate

David Ngibuini, Maguta Estate

Charles Mangua, Mbari Estate

Margaret K, Olo Mayana

KIAMBU