Our trainees spend a lot of time visiting the people who grow and supply our coffee and tea. We asked Becky, who’s travelling alongside fellow trainee Jamie, to write about some of her experiences. Here’s her first report.
Pictured on the right are coffee grower and retired maths teacher, Geoffrey Mwai Mbogu, and agronomist James Mugi.
“As part of my training in Taylors’ sourcing department, I recently set out on a trip to meet some of the suppliers who grow and produce the fantastic quality tea and coffee that is so important to us at Taylors. This week I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the Kenyan farmers who grow the bright citric coffee which is such an important part of some of our blends.
“One farmer I was really excited to meet was Geoffrey Mwai Mbogu, who grows coffee in Kirinyaga County in Central Kenya, and is a member of Mutira Co-operative. Geoffrey is a retired maths teacher who started growing coffee 11 years ago in order to help fund the education of his children, one of whom is now training to be a doctor. He owns 500 coffee trees, but also grows papayas, peppers and pineapples, as well as owning a cow and some chickens.
“What particularly impressed me about Geoffrey was his passion and commitment to growing the best possible quality coffee on his farm. As part of Mutira Co-operative he’s been working with James Mugi, the Cooperative’s agronomist and trainer, to introduce practices on his farm which will care for the environment while at the same time ensuring his coffee tastes even more delicious. This has included regular pruning of his coffee trees, planting shade trees so the coffee isn’t grown in full sun, and applying fertiliser at the optimum time of the year.
“Since working with James, Geoffrey has seen the quality of his coffee cherries rise dramatically, which at the same time has led to higher income, helping Geoffrey continue to support his family.
“It was very inspiring for me to meet farmers like Geoffrey across our supply chain in Kenya, and to see the work and commitment they put into growing such fantastic quality coffee for our blends.”