Kiangundo is a washing station (or factory, as they are called in Kenya) located in the Nyeri district in the municipality of Karatina. It is one of four washing stations (alongside its sisters Gachuiro, Ichuga and Kiamaina) owned by the Kiama Coffee Farmer’s Cooperative Society, which represents over 3000 producers in the region.
Kiangundo washing station represents 690 of these members (520 male and 170 female). These producers have farms located at 1,700–1,950m above sea level. The main varieties of coffee grown in this region are SL-28 and -34, which account for 95% of all coffee produced. The region’s high altitude means that the coffee fruit is able to mature slowly, and this, combined with rich volcanic soil and careful processing, helps to highlight the inherent complex fruit flavours from the SL-28 and SL-34 varieties. Both cultivars have Bourbon and Moka heritage and are named after the laboratory that promoted their wider distribution in Kenya during the early 20th Century: Scott Laboratories. In addition to the SL28 and SL34 that are almost ubiquitous around Kenya, this lot contains around 5% of the Ruiru 11 variety. Thisvariety is slowly becoming more widespread in the region due to its resistance to Coffee Berry Disease and Coffee Leaf Rust and has been backcrossed with SL28 and SL34 to ensure high cup quality.
Kiama was established in 2005 and is led by the Chairman Charles Ndamburi Ngure. Day-to-day operations and quality control at Kiangundo are overseen by Factory Manager Iddah Rose Wangui. Kiama receive assistance from Sucastainability, who are on the ground directly helping producers improve their productivity and quality through training and education programs. Their objective is to ensure sustained industry growth by establishing a transparent and trust-based relationships with small-holder producers. By helping them improve their quality, Sucastainability in turn improves the premiums the producers can be paid, which will ultimately have a positive impact on their quality of life.