Karuthi is represented by Mr. Edward Kamunge Ritho on the Othaya Society board of directors, who incidentally also represents the Kiaguthu factory, whose coffee we have featured this year as filter. The factory representative of the board has a number of duties and one such duty is to select a marketing agent for the factory (a company to represent / market all of the coffee that the factory produces). Over the years, we’ve seen factories from the very same co-op select different marketing agents (companies). Additionally, some factories change marketing agents frequently, hoping that the next one will work to fetch a high price for their coffee.
Othaya approached the volatility of this situation in a completely different and innovative way: they vertically integrated. They founded a cooperative-owned marketing agency to market and export their own coffee. This coffee is called Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE for short). This agency operates with a fully transparent pricing structure. They take a fixed 2% fee from the total price paid by buyers. This is completely contrary to other marketing agents and exporters, who take varying and non-transparent amount from the sale price of each coffee.
Othaya is a rather large co-op with 19 total factories, although only 14 are actually active. The inactive five are in close proximity to other factories and, since the wet mills are not at capacity, it made sense to consolidate processing. Othaya also owns their own dry mill and quality control lab.
The 2015/16 harvest produced high volume as compared to the prior 3 years, and so David Wairagu, manager of the cupping lab, had his work cut out for him!
The Karuthi factory is managed by Moses Karuga Macharia and they produced 132,369 kgs of cherry last season. Moses is managing the quality well, as many lots we cupped this year were outstanding. That said, this particular lot stood out as a notch above the others from Karuthi. Although this lot is last year’s harvest, we immediately froze the green on arrival in Calgary to preserve its freshness; it tastes amazing!
REGION: Othaya, Nyeri County
CO-OP: Othaya Farmers Co-op Society, Ltd.
BEAN SIZE: AA
HARVEST DATE: January, 2016
FACTORY MANAGER: Moses Karuga Macharia
PROCESSING: Washed, Double Fermentation
PACKAGING: Vacuum Packed
STORAGE: Green coffee frozen to preserve freshness