Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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KENYA Estate, a farm that has been producing coffee for nearly a century. Traditional raised beds on the nearly 100-year-old coffee farm of Chania Estate. The picturesque farm looked like something right out of central casting, perched on a hill with cascading raised beds, just the right from the United Kingdom. amount of rust on the tin roofs, and unbelievably deep, red earth. Though most of the country took the following day off as a national Farm owner Boyce Marquis Allen Harries met the baristas and holiday, the baristas traveled to the Ruarai co-op wet mill and had gave them a tour of his milling facilities. They then scrambled up the chance to meet with the general manager and her team, which the dirt road into the coffee fields. The trees had massively thick included the local SMS trainer and coffee farmer, Mr. Obobo. After a trunks, and there was a reason for that, Boyce explained: They tour of the mill and a nice coffee break, the group hopped back in the were originally planted in the 1920s by his great-grandfather. Land Cruisers and went up to Mr. Obobo's farm. Through careful management and pruning, the French Mission They walked down the steep slope past his small wattle-andtrees continued to produce some amazing coffees. Boyce also works daub house, and he proudly showed them his coffee. With a total of closely with Café Imports and provides naturally processed lots. 250 trees, Mr. Obobo was the definition of small farmer, but he was High-quality natural coffees have been fairly unusual in Kenya, utterly devoted to his coffee plants. His father originally planted as typically the best coffees are washed immediately, and only the the trees in the 1950s when the Kenyan government first opened poorer-quality ones are not washed. coffee farming to everyone. Before that, only white farmers and After a brief stroll among the heirloom trees, we climbed back select black Kenyans, often chiefs and other favored people, could into the Land Cruisers and rumbled down to a wooded glade by a plant and grow coffee commercially. This, too, has had the lingering swollen brown river where Boyce's wife, Georgina, and their son effect of keeping a local coffee culture from developing. Russell, were waiting with a picnic lunch for the travelers. Using SMS methods and organic fertilization, Mr. Obobo had As darkness fell, the caravan returned to the road and rolled been able to dramatically increase the health of his 60-yearfurther north toward the city of Nyeri in the shadow of snowcapped old plants and their yield. But he grew visibly frustrated as he Mt. Kenya. Though clouds covered the rugged peak, at midnight spoke about his experience because, he said, even though he a series of loud booms echoed through the darkness. Fireworks was producing more coffee than ever, his income, due to a falling illuminated the night sky in undefined flashes, like heat lightning, C-market and greater cost of production, was not keeping up. as the clock tripped into the next day, December 12, 2013, Jamhuri "Drink our good coffee," he said. "Enjoy it. But make sure the Day, which marked the 50th anniversary of Kenya's independence producer is not forgotten." With those words ringing in their ears, 40 barista magazine

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