The soils within these areas are rich with volcanic material and red thanks to the high mineral content. Annual rainfall and temperatures are optimal for coffee production – hence why it is so successful in this region. Soil health must be maintained to ensure future crops each year – this is why producers intercrop the coffee with banana, maize, and macadamia to shade the coffee and fix various nutrients in the soil.
Each producer will handpick the coffee on their land, before carrying the cherries to the Factory. Here, the Kangunu stream provides water to wash the coffee and remove the skin and pulp. The stream also powers the electrical pumps to move the water to reservoir tanks before the initiation of processing. After water washes over the coffee cherries, it is cleaned and reused for future lots. The Factory utilizes a disc pulper with three sets of discs to peel away the skin and pulp from the inner parchment.
Despite its proximity to the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, coffee growing was introduced in Kenya relatively late – by Scottish missionaries, initially, and then commercially around 1900. Despite the late start, today, it is a country renowned for having some of the best coffees in the world. Nonetheless, Kenya’s coffee sector faces challenges for the future, and low global prices combined with climate change and population growth have diminished the country’s output over the last decade.