16th December 2017, marked the D-day for the pilot coffee farm tour organized by Connect coffee company. December was the ideal time being peak coffee harvest season that ranges between October – Mid January annually. From entrepreneurs, researchers , students, expatriates to freelancers they were among the 20 participants who subscribed to pilot the 1 – day farm trip to experience coffee harvesting in Kenya, Kiambu .
Convening at Connect Coffee by 8am, participants grabbed a cup coffee before departing for Kiambu ( coffee hotspot within Mt. Kenya region ) . After 2 hours drive from Nairobi, participants arrived at Mr. Daniel Kamiri’s 5 (five ) ha coffee farm , elevated at 1890 m above sea level.
Participants arrival was warmly welcomed by Connect coffee company 6 beneficiary farmers. Duncan ( Marketing manager) briefly shared about the seed to cup initiative that supports 6 small holder farmers improve yield ( quality & quantity ) while ensuring customers enjoy unique coffee experience. Mr. Kimani ( pioneer partner farmer ), demonstrated the seedling planting process highlighting key challenges that range from climate change, inadequate farm input to technical expertise that may hinder good crop establishment.
Divided into 2 – groups (each 10 members ) & tasked to selectively harvest red wine cherries.
Around mid-day, the team convened at the factory site (within the farm) to sort the harvested cherries before pulping. Additional information on the production of biogas energy from the waste coffee products mixed with animal waste was shared.
Proceeded to washing and fermentation stage, where farmers illustrated how the process enhances removal of mucilage to attain a clean cup.
Sarah ( Connect coffee specialty coffee roaster ), guided the participants through the grading procedure , roasting exercise & finally cupping where the coffee characteristics are explored across different profile.
Together from the participants, farmers & Connect coffee team enjoyed a scrumptious lunch & learnt more about farmers rural life.
“Indeed the whole coffee farm process is labour intensive from establishment, management, processing to final extraction. Moving forwad, I will appreciate paying premium prices for sustainable sourced coffee that impacts directly to farmers.” Aryish – participant.
The seed donation initiative by each participant, was in honor of supporting sustainable coffee production by small holder farmers in the Seed to cup project.
In case you missed the pilot farm tour, prepare for April 2018 to enjoy the next season of seed to cup experience at the farm.