Kii is a coffee washing station that we have bought from for two years. Kirinyaga is an area not to far from Niarobi that, to us, always produces the most tropical tasting Kenyan coffees. In the last 3-4 years that we've been traveling to Kenya the coffees from Kirinyaga, and specifically Kii, have been some of our favorite.
This last harvest we were able to spend a lot more time talking with Fredrick, the manager of the Rung'eto cooperative, and saw a lot of the reasons behind this consistent quality. In addition to providing great management to his washing stations and finding great people to oversee them, Fredrick has implemented numerous other institutions for the cooperative members to improve their quality of life. Fredrick set up a cooperative bank to enable members to get paid directly and quickly when they deliver coffee. This also enabled them to save and reinvest in their livelihood. The cooperative members started buying cows (which is a common method for holding wealth in Kenya) a couple years ago so Fredrick started a cooperative dairy. This catapulted peoples' ability to grow their income as a group and when we visited last year they had outgrown the initial dairy building next to the bank and had purchased a larger building for expansion.
This group effort to improve the cooperative members' quality of life started with quality coffee. Fredrick is a renaissance man who saw coffee as a foundation for much more and had the vision to see that quality was the cornerstone for this foundation. Kii has produced one of our favorite coffees year over year. You have to try it for the flavors and vibrance in the cup, but you can also appreciate it for the good that it has created in the peoples' lives who grow it.