Kenya NKG Bloom Nguvu is as much a favorite with our Trade team as it is with our Quality Control. The most recent arrival notes from the cupping table gush: “Passion fruit, nectarine, chocolate, tropical, floral, savory, creamy body, bright acidity.” But there’s much more to love about this coffee beyond its gorgeous cup profile.
Nguvu is a cup profile and quality created for us by our colleagues at Ibero Kenya. When the offering is Kenya NKG Bloom Nguvu, versus Kenya Nguvu, the beans selected for the profile are from cooperatives whose members are enrolled in the NKG Bloom initiative.
NKG Bloom is implemented through Farmer Services Units (FSU) within Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) export companies (in this case, Ibero). FSU agronomists work with the cooperatives and farmers to make sure they have the services and resources they need to build thriving (and so literally sustainable) coffee businesses. This can include access to high-quality fertilizers, agronomy and business trainings, infrastructure assets and financial services such as mobile loans. In Kenya, NKG Bloom producers also have access to a mobile app that allows them to track their delivery volumes in real time and instantly apply for mobile loans. The app also ensures more accurate and more timely payments between the cooperative and the producer.
These resources not only translate to higher yields for the producers but also to higher quality in the cup and in the warehouse. Our Ibero colleagues tell us that cooperatives committed to NKG Bloom have achieved a reputation for quality and, at auction, people will often “pay up” for their coffees. The cost difference between Nguvu and NKG Bloom Nguvu is partly a function of its understood value and partly due to the costs of the initiative itself.
To date, the Ibero FSU consists of 61 full-time staff members who are working with 100,000+ farmers in Kenya and 48 specific farmer groups. Most important of all, the initiative’s goal of meaningfully improving producers’ livelihoods is working. On average, since working with NKG Bloom, the producers in Kenya have increased their yields from less than 6 bags per hectare to approximately 13 bags and continue toward a goal of 20 bags per hectare.
One producer, Evans Mwangi, increased his overall yields from 130 kg to 306 kg in first season and to 2,191 kg in the second season, after FSU members taught him how to address coffee borer disease on his farm and not only acquire fertilizer but properly apply it.
Another producer, Helen Nijiru, has increased her yields literally 10-fold since working with the FSU and learning to apply manure and fertilizer to her trees and better manage the shade canopy over them.
NKG likes to describe NKG Bloom as “coffee sourcing with a purpose.” But without question, it’s also purchasing, roasting and enjoying with a purpose. •
Photo caption: An FSU team member with NKG Bloom producer Joseph Ndungu Njoroge, who farms with is wife, Priscilla Wanjiru, in Kenya.