In Kenya’s central highlands east of the great Rift Valley lies the coffee growing region of Kiambu, Kenya, of which Thika is a sub-region. Here at the foothills of the Aberdare ridge, soils are red, volcanic, and rich in organic matter. Due to the temperate climate and friendly rainfall (some say Kiambu means “place of drizzles”), coffee farmers enjoy two harvests. The lighter “Fly” crop comes in May-July, while the heavier main crop ripens September-December.
There are some large coffee estates in the Kiambu region, but small holders and their cooperative organizations are alive and well, each with their own processing mills (sometimes called factories), offering growers a better option than selling their cherries through the large operations. Instead, they bring them to their own mills for processing, and are able to obtain a fair price for them at auction.