Tuesday, November 09, 2004


an eye on kenya coffees

"the raging coffee crisis in nyeri district has taken an unprecedented direction following a declaration by a section of farmers not to pick their produce.

in kirinyaga, 20,000 members of the giant kabare co-operative society have resolved to forcefully take over the management of mukengeria factory."

the continuing upheaval in kenya's best coffee growing districts is certainly a cause for concern among all those who love high-quality kenya coffee. kenya is considered by coffee lovers to be one of the world's most-prized types.

fine kenya is complex, winey, and can have striking fruity berry or citrus flavors, with a long finish, medium body, and few defects (this is known in coffee-talk as a "clean cup").

these problems are due of course to a mixture of the global coffee crisis and corrupt situations local to kenya. the farmers are attempting to preserve some level of independence against what seem like frankly crony-ist and self-dealing government schemes.

those close to the government do appear to be nakedly trying to rip off the farmers and pocket coffee export profits for themselves. and it seems sometimes as if the management of the coffee processing plants are also corrupt and cheat the farmers.

thus some farmers are trying to sell their coffee outside the official government-sponsored systems, which results in their arrest and other deep unpleasantness. the sorrow in this is that the coffee harvest is being held hostage, even as actual violence ensues.

at the cupping yesterday the overall feeling was that the kenya coffee is somewhat disappointing this year (kenya being a component in oren's beowulf espresso). the coffee quality appears to be suffering from this complex and disturbing situation. . .

once again it's a reminder that if you think the struggles of some very poor people who live on the slopes of a mountain far, far away was of no concern to you, look deep into the cup sitting at your elbow right now. do you what what beans are in that blend?

the coffee you are drinking right now could have been touched by these farmers' own hands, or picked by their children. . .they and their aspirations for a decent life are not distant from you at all.

posted by fortune | 8:09 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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