Our first release from Long Miles’ new project in Kenya, a sweet and fresh washed lot from the Kiruga Mill in Nyeri
A fruity & acidic coffee
Producer: Othaya FCS
Altitude: 1700 masl
Harvest: January 2021
Optimal brew: Filter 4-30 days | Espresso 10-60 days.
RRP for 250g: 129 kr.
RRP for 1 kg: 480 kr.
About the Coffee
The Long Miles Project in Kenya
We have been looking forward to this new project from our long term partners at Long Miles for some time. We’ve been working together with the Long Miles team since 2014, and during this time they have made great strides in Burundian coffee; bringing vibrant and varying lots of coffee to roasters and consumers, while also bringing a sense of stability and prosperity to large groups of farmers in rural northern Burundi.
They now aim to create a similarly fair and equitable system in Kenya. Although a much more established and stable coffee origin, there are still several challenges facing producers here. The dominant cooperative structure here leads to a power dynamic in which producers end up into long term agreements with regard to things like payment and fertiliser use. Often these agreements can be mutually beneficial, but we have heard of some instances of questionable practices. For example, as a farmer who can only harvest and therefore sell coffee once per year, it’s often necessary to ask for an advance from the cooperative in order to keep food on the table. These advances are often available, but involve locking in the entirety of the next harvest with the cooperative at a rate far below the market price, as a type of interest. Cooperatives who aim to produce large amounts of high value ‘AA’ lots, consisting of very large beans, push small producers to use a great deal of chemical fertiliser on their farms, often in collaboration with fertiliser companies. This high level of fertiliser usage, while leading to the required large bean size, is a threat to groundwater supplies and a direct threat to producer’s health.
Long Miles are aiming to break this structure, and support producers in the same way they do in Burundi. They have purchased a mill in Nyeri, Thunguri, and have processed a small amount of coffee here during the past harvest season. They have already begun to assemble a team of young agronomists who will serve the same role as the Coffee Scouts team in Burundi. Based at the Long Miles Thunguri mill, they will provide agronomic advice and support to the farmers delivering. The first production from Thunguri was very small, but Long Miles are committed to growing slowly, building trust within the community and creating a real difference for their partner coffee farmers, just as they have in Burundi. Furthermore, Long Miles are in discussions about a small plot of land in western Kenya, not far from the border with Uganda, where they look to establish their own farm, planted from scratch with a focus on regenerative farming practices. The reforestation work started in Burundi with the ‘Trees for Kibira’ project will continue here, planting green belts of trees and encouraging shade-grown coffee.
The coffees we have purchased this year are part of the start-up phase of Long Miles Kenya. As the production from Thunguri was so small, Long Miles have worked together with some neighbouring mills, visiting and participating in their quality control procedures. They have then exported these coffees through their existing channels, involving roaster partners like us in this early stage of the project. We see these coffees as an investment in the future of Long Miles’ project in Kenya, and will be following developments closely over the coming seasons, and hope to share as much as possible with you. It’s very exciting to have one of our closest and most trusted partners involved in one of our favourite origins, and have every confidence that this is just the start of a fruitful and delicious adventure.