Mukuyuni Farmers Cooperative Society borrows it’s name from the town of the same name which – in turn – takes from the River Mukuyuni that runs through Machakos County in the South-Eastern part of Kenya. The name itself translates literally to 'next to the giant fig tree' in the language of the local Kamba Tribe, as under the fig tree was where meetings were once held, and later, where a town cropped up. Along with coffee, figs constitute an intentional crop diversification strategy that also includes flowers and honey, cattle and cattle feed, and a healthy chicken hatchery.
In 1996 these farmers split off large, 11 factory Iveti FCS to form Mukyuni FCS. To this day they remain a progressive group; as example you can point to organic farming practices, FairTrade certification, 100% members being current with dues, active demonstration plots, full-time quality mobilizers, and regular mandatory trainings. Here you’ll find clean stores, clean fields, newly purchased digital scales, new electrical motors for pulping machines, a new lorry to facilitate collections for further farmers, a regular internal magazine on coffee production, and committees set to researching ongoing improvements. Their 10-person management board is consistently half or more female, despite women making up ~ 347 of the 932 total members. This board was recognized as the ‘best managed society with high production’ during the 2018 Ushirika celebrations, the same year it got the ‘best in rate payment to members’ award by miller and marketer Tropical Farm Management.
Kenya is an enigma.
It occupies a top spot in specialty – Kenyan top lots are always amongst the most expensive of any harvest. But yet it’s a country where coffee production is dropping year over year. Kenya is a place where traceability is given, but knowing what you want and how to get it are two different things. Rarely do we find partners more capable, and more loyalties more difficult to navigate than we do in Kenya. And for all the aforementioned reasons, competition in Kenya is fierce, and making prized coffees feel like even more of a prize.
However, no matter how formal the industry is structured, coffee still remains a system of people. And in a country where farmers own their own cherry production there is additional power to connecting with coffee’s most important stakeholder. Farmers can, for example, point you to the best collections from every harvest, or delay sending their lots to auction to give you another week to sample. At request they can change the way the separate lots, bringing new products to market in a year that would take other countries nearly a decade to do.
But experimentation is not the name of the game. With washed coffees working so well you won’t find many a manager willing to mess around with different fermentations, flotation, drying times or with certifications like organic. The experiment instead is that of business model. How do cooperatives normalize earnings to keep their members engaged in coffee? How do we take away red tape to encourage more farmers to plant more coffee, as opposed to corn or dairy? How can small estates split off and succeed under their own pulping license. Is it better to sell through auction or directly to an international buyer – can you afford to cut out your marketing agent? Once you speak to these problems you are speaking the language of coffee in Kenya – this is a country that already knows how to coffee.
André le Géant
- Type: Single origin
- Notes: Pineapple salsa, Candied cherry, Vanilla bean
- Country: Kenya
- Region: Machakos County, Bungoma
- Farm: 932 smalls producers
- Process: Washed
- Varieties: SL-28
- Altitude: 1700 - 2000m
Here's the proposed ratios:
- Drip 1:17
- Espresso 1:2 in 28 seconds
We sell whole beans only and we suggest you grind it to perfection just before your brew!
Our coffee is delivered every Tuesday (& Friday if inventory allows), orders need to be entered before Monday 12 h 00 to be included in the Tuesday shipment.