Mahiga is a wet mill (called a Factory in Kenya), and it was founded in 1962—four years after the co-op began. It might also be the most beautiful mill I’ve visited in Kenya. The drying tables are situated in a valley surrounded by native forest. Daniel Kingori, whom I knew so well from his time at Rukira, is continuing to capably manage at Mahiga. Daniel takes care to ensure that only red cherry is submitted to the mill and that wet parchment is properly sorted to remove the beans with a green hue. Additionally, he visits farmers in the nearby area provide advice and feedback to farmers on the conditions of their soil and how to manage their farms. This AA lot sings on the cupping table!
On a positive note, the yields of the last two harvests were much better than a challenging 2019/20 season. The Covid pandemic had a major effect in Kenya, as it did the rest of the world. Vaccination rates are very low in Africa, with poor access to vaccines a major obstacle for many. For this and other reasons I do not foresee returning to visit Kenya, or anywhere in Africa, for at least another year.
It’s very important to me that as an industry (i.e. the specialty coffee industry), we continue to push the prices paid for coffee in Kenya up. The goal of 100 Kenya Shillings per kg of coffee cherry as an average price across all grades of coffee is completely attainable, and once again I paid above that for this coffee. We’ll keep doing our part paying better prices, and I’ll also keep applying pressure to other companies to see the value of paying higher prices. The ability to pay higher will also be driven by the customer side as well, as roasters and cafes will have to charge marginally more for Kenya coffees, but in my view they’re well worth it!
Thank you for your interest in this coffee. With your help (buying it), we can collectively contribute to an improved and evolving coffee sector in Kenya!
As with all our coffee, this green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.