With varying altitudes between 1,800 and 1,950 meters above sea level, this region is defined by its bright red soils, full of rich nutrients for coffee trees. The high altitudes allow for ideal temperatures and rainfall for the slow maturation of coffee cherries. Smallholders grow coffee on small plots of land and pick the cherries during harvest to deliver to the mill. There are two harvests in the Kiambu County, the main one occurring between October and December with an additional fly harvest occurring between April and July.
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.