Meeting coffee farmers in Kenya
March 10, 2024

Meeting coffee farmers in Kenya

One of the reasons we've launched our blog now is to bring you as much news as we can about Mark and Jean's latest travels.

Landscape picture of people in the distance walking along a track in the Kenyan countryside

The Armstrong family have recently returned from Jean's native Kenya, visiting coffee farmers and family, and they've got so many things to share with us. But first, let's look at why they went.

Shiloh Coffee Roasters is focused on one thing - roasting great-tasting, ethical coffee. Put simply, Mark and Jean work hard to research where and who they're sourcing coffee beans from as they seek to ensure that growers and producers are not only given a fair price for the beans they sell now but are also give the opportunity to develop their businesses, grow their skills and in turn grow higher quality coffee that will attract a higher price.

A key part of ensuring the coffee we roast and sell is ethical involves building relationships with the growers and producers Mark sources coffee from around the world. Through those relationships, Mark and Jean can have confidence in knowing that everyone involved in bringing the beans to your cup of Shiloh coffee is being treated fairly and well. And it gives Mark and Jean the opportunity to play a part in helping the growers and producers increase their skills and knowledge and their businesses, beyond simply buying from them. It's for this reason that Mark and Jean were really pleased to be able to meet coffee farmers during their visit to Kenya.

Mark explains: "Meeting the farmers is a brilliant thing because it's something you rarely get to do, especially when you're thousands of miles away. For me, being able to meet the farmers is just another level, especially in Kenya because we have family connections with them so it means that little bit more to us.

"By meeting the farmers we can see the impact we can make when we pay better value for money for their coffee. We can talk to them about how we can pay more if they can reach a higher quality and how it's not worth it if the quality isn't up there.

"Also it's very rare that the farmers get to taste their own coffee or other people's coffee so for me being able to show them the coffee and being able to teach them about the coffee I've roasted from their beans and about different coffees from around the world is really, really worthwhile. They can see how good the quality can be and how they can make a bit more money."

A picture of the Armstrong family and Kenyan coffee producers sitting together outdoors and Mark standing up and talking to everyone present

Mark is already fastidious in ensuring that sources high quality beans to roast for your early morning cuppa (and all the others throughout the day!) but, as with anything, there's always room for the farmers to develop and improve on the great work they do, which in turn will help them attract a higher price for the beans and provide them with more money to invest back into their businesses, along with a better standard of living for themselves and their families. And that's the central ethos behind ethical coffee.

See more photos from the visit in this video: