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Long Miles Kenya

Over the coming weeks, we will release 3 day lots, all from the small Kiringa zone. These coffees are our first step together with the team at Thunguri, Long Miles' new station in Kenya, and we look forward to the coming seasons of collaboration.

Long Miles Kenya

Over the coming weeks, we will release 3 day lots, all from the small Kiringa zone. These coffees are our first step together with the team at Thunguri, Long Miles' new station in Kenya, and we look forward to the coming seasons of collaboration.

Long Miles

Kenya

We have been looking forward to this project from our long term partners at Long Miles for some time. We’ve been working together with the Long Miles team since 2014, and during this time they have made great strides in Burundian coffee; bringing vibrant and varying lots of coffee to roasters and consumers, while also bringing a sense of stability and prosperity to large groups of farmers in rural northern Burundi.

They now aim to create a similarly fair and equitable system in Kenya. Although a much more established and stable coffee origin, there are still several challenges facing producers here. Four large companies control about 90% of the coffee that leaves the country, often making it difficult to foster direct connections and support innovation. This imperfect system still leads to very high quality export lots, but often at the expense of true traceability and consistency. The sustained low market price for coffee over the past 5 years or so has led many small farmers to stop working with coffee, moving instead to other crops such as tea, or even the legal narcotic Khat.

"Four large companies control about 90% of the coffee that leaves the country, often making it difficult to foster direct connections and support innovation."

Those who remain have attempted to reduce their cost of production, grafting high yielding and disease resistant Batian and Ruiru 11 shoots onto their SL varietal root stock. All of this leads to reduced supply of the very high quality coffee we are used to seeing from Kenya, which is a huge loss for the large milling and export companies who control the stream of coffee out of the country. Therefore, they begin to purchase lower quality lots, pushing instead for quantity, moving into new growing areas to the north and west, unproven ground in terms of high end production.

This power dynamic also trickles into the dominant cooperative structure, in which producers often end up in long term agreements with regard to things like payment and fertiliser use. Often these agreements can be mutually beneficial, but can also result in some questionable practices. For example, as a farmer who can only harvest and sell coffee once per year, it’s often necessary to ask for an advance from the cooperative in order to keep food on the table. These advances are available, but involve locking in the entirety of the next harvest with the cooperative at a rate far below the market price, as a type of interest. Cooperatives who aim to produce large amounts of high value ‘AA’ lots, consisting of very large beans, push small producers to use a great deal of chemical fertiliser on their farms, often in collaboration with fertiliser companies. This high level of fertiliser usage, while leading to the required large bean size, is a threat to groundwater supplies and a direct threat to producer’s health.

"... as a farmer who can only harvest and sell coffee once per year, it’s often necessary to ask for an advance from the cooperative in order to keep food on the table."

Long Miles

Long Miles are aiming to break this structure, and support producers in the same way they do in Burundi. They purchased the Thunguri washing station in the north of Kirinyaga in 2019, and have just completed their first full harvest season. We were able to visit the station in January of this year, and have been awaiting the arrival of this year’s lots since. Being able to spend time with the team on the ground, absorbing their genuine and passionate drive for better conditions and welfare for their partner farmers, was one of the most inspiring parts of the trip. They have been funding trees for farmers, mainly Macadamia and Avocado. Planting these trees sequesters carbon, giving access to green grants, allowing Long Miles to fund community projects and agronomic support for farmers through their Coffee Scout programme. The farmers also get to sell the products from the trees to market, giving them an extra source of income.

The dedication to quality and traceability is also impressive. The factory itself has been intensely refurbished since it was purchased, and has employed highly skilled experts in the field. Station employees visit each farmer to collect cherry, in order to increase their engagement, making sure of conditions on the farm, and of the quality of the cherry that enters the factory. Cherry collected from each small zone, similar to the hills model in Burundi, are kept separate. This allows the creation of micro-lots by zone and by days picking. Through extensive tasting we were slowly able to observe how conditions and micro-climate combine to create distinct taste profiles, and even tasted a few separated single farmer lots, processed in the field on small hand-cranked depulpers.

Long Miles are committed to growing slowly, building trust within the community and creating a real difference for their partner coffee farmers, just as they have in Burundi. Furthermore, the team are in discussions about a small plot of land in western Kenya, not far from the border with Uganda, where they look to establish their own farm, planted from scratch with a focus on regenerative farming practices.

Thunguri

Kiringa

Last year, we purchased coffees from neighbouring mills that Long Miles had been working together with, those they had visited and joined in their quality control procedures. We feel privileged to have been involved in the project at such an early stage, and feel a great investment in the future of Long Miles’ project in Kenya. This year, the output from Thunguri was much higher, and we are excited to have secured all of the AA grade coffee that was exported to Europe from the station this year.

Over the coming weeks, we will release 3 day lots, all from the small Kiringa zone, one of the regions selected by Long Miles to collect cherry from. On the edge of the beautiful Mount Kenya Forest, the soils here are rich and fertile, and mainly used to grow tea. During a drive through the rolling hills of Kiringa, it is actually rather rare to see a coffee tree, with just a few plots interspersed between swathes of lush green tea fields. These coffees are our first step together with the team at Thunguri, and we look forward to the coming seasons of collaboration. It’s very exciting to have one of our closest and most trusted partners involved in one of our favourite origins, and have every confidence that this is just the start of a fruitful and delicious adventure.

Opening Hours

La Cabra - Graven

Graven 20

8000 Aarhus C

Denmark

Opening Hours:

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La Cabra - Bakery

Borggade 4F

8000 Aarhus C

Denmark

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La Cabra - New York

152 2nd Ave

New York

United States

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Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 18:00

La Cabra - Bangkok

813 Charoen Krung Rd, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong

Bangkok 10100

Thailand

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Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 17:00

Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 18:00

La Cabra - Sharjah

1F, House of Wisdom, Al Juraina 1

Sharjah

United Arab Emirates

Opening Hours:

Sun - Thu: 09:00 - 23:00

Fri - Sat: 09:00 - 24:00

Graven 20

8000 Aarhus C

Denmark

Opening Hours:

Mon - Sat: 08:00 - 18:00

Sun: 09:00 - 17:00

Borggade 4F

8000 Aarhus C

Denmark

Opening Hours:

Mon - Sat: 07:00 - 18:00

Sun: 07:00 - 17:00

152 2nd Ave

New York

United States

Opening Hours:

Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 18:00

Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 18:00

813 Charoen Krung Rd, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong

Bangkok 10100

Thailand

Opening Hours:

Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 17:00

Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 18:00

1F, House of Wisdom, Al Juraina 1

Sharjah

United Arab Emirates

Opening Hours:

Sun - Thu: 09:00 - 23:00

Fri - Sat: 09:00 - 24:00

Contact

Webshop

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark

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Roastery

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark

Have a question?

Please write us in the chat.

Marguerite Vibys Pl. 1

2000 Frederiksberg

Denmark