ESPITE Kenya’s proximity to Ethiopia (widely believed to be the region from which coffee originated), coffee was not cultivated there until 1893, when French Holy Ghost Fathers introduced coffee trees from Reunion Island.
The coffee industry in Kenya is noted for its co-operative system of production, processing, milling, marketing and auction system.
About 70 per cent of Kenyan coffee is produced by small-scale holders.
In 2012, there were about 150,000 coffee farmers in Kenya and an estimated six million Kenyans were employed directly or indirectly in the coffee industry.
The acidic soil in highlands of central Kenya, with just the right amount of sunlight and rainfall provide excellent conditions for growing coffee plants.
Coffee from Kenya is of the ‘Colombia mild’ type and is well known for its intense flavour, full body and pleasant aroma, with notes of cocoa and high grade, meaning coffee from Kenya is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world.
The Ther’i factory is situated in Murarandia and is affiliated to the New Murarandia Farmers Co-Op Society.
There are 650 active members of the factory.
These small-holder members each have on average around one acre of land for coffee growing alongside macadamia, beans, bananas and maize.
The area has rich and fertile red volcanic soil at altitudes of 1,850 metres above sea level. ]
The smallholder members of the co-operative have access to training and technical advice along with advance payments for farm inputs.
The Ther’i coffee itself has a really pleasant aroma, and is surprisingly full bodied for a Kenyan coffee, well- balanced but quite intense.
There is a sweetness with quite intense lemon and orange flavours, a hint of tomato and rhubarb – a full-on taste sensation.
● Brian Hockenhull makes coffee at his shop in Uppermill, Oldham