Words by Nordic Approach, the green coffee importing company we bought this coffee from:
We started to buy coffees from Kamwangi six years ago. There was some political turbulence in Kenya around that time which forced us to look beyond Nyeri for great coffees, and this is one of the gems we discovered in Kirinyaga.
The coffees from Kirinyaga can sometimes be heavier and more "classic" Kenyans with loads of black currant and dark berry flavours, still with a high amount of intensity and complexity. Since then Kamwangi has been among our favourites and we also know this cooperative passes on a greater part of the prices to the growers.
Kamwangi sits under the greater New Ngariama Cooperative Society, which includes other great performing factories like Kainamui. Their factories are always on our priority list. We have consistently bought these coffees the last six years and when you find the right outturns, they have amazing cup profiles. There are about 1800 farmers in total who can deliver to the factory, but not all of them are active. The New Ngariama Cooperative is known for giving back a big portion of the premiums to the producers, and they also provide financial support for school fees and farming needs.
Each lot consists of coffees from hundreds of smallholders from the area surrounding the washing station (factory). The team at the factory sort the cherries before they go into production. The coffees are traditionally processed with dry fermentation, before being washed and graded in channels, and dried on raised beds. The farmers mainly grow SL28 and SL34, but as with almost all Kenyan cooperative coffees, there can be a mix of everything. Other common cultivars are K7, Ruiru 11 and now also Batian.