Kahiwa Coffee Roasters is a coffee roastery, that was founded in 2016 in Lahti. It’s roots can be traced to 2013, when Joonas Reinikainen started importing coffee straight from the farmer. The roasteries ethical practices are easily visible to all, because they still acquire the coffee straight from the farms without any middlemen.Check out Kahiwas coffees here
Everything started in Kenya
Joonas Reinikainens grandparents had lived most of their lives in Embu, Kenya. While visiting, Reinikainen got his first experience of the coffee world while visiting his grandparents friends farm. The grandparents lived near Mt. Kenya, an area that is extremely known for its coffee farms.
On one of his trips Reinikainen got acquainted to the neighboring coffee farm and the farmer, who had been cultivating coffee in the same place for over 50 years. What Reinikainen noticed was quite dramatic. The coffee farm and all the trees were in horrible shape, even though the area was known for its high quality coffee. The head farmer Muchangi Muriithi told Reinikainen, that because the small profits, the family didn’t have anyone to take over the farm. The young people would rather leave for universities in the bigger cities and Europe than continue the family farming business. Reinikainen says that he anticipated the answer, but was also surprised, since Kenyan coffee is highly regarded and even pricey all over the world.
But what had made the situation so dire that the farmer didn’t get a proper return for their work, which in turn could motivate them to continue and improve? While digging in to the matter, Reinikainen found out that the main reason for the problem was great amount of middlemen who all took a cut. When he found this out, Reinikainen got the idea to implement a direct trade solution in Kenya. This enabled people to buy coffee directly from the farmer with no middlemen, offering a proper return to the farmer. In 2013 the first direct trade batch of raw coffee made its way to Finland.
From a coffee importer to a roastmaster
After the first batch of coffee arrived, the imports were done in co-operation with mainly Kenyan farms, while the roasting was done with other roasteries. At this point, Reinikainens plans for the future and knowledge of coffee had gotten to a level that in 2015, Reinikainen bought a 2kg Discaf roaster and started roasting. With the demand for ethical and ecological coffee growing, in 2016 people at Kahiwa decided to switch gear and order a brand new 15kg roaster from Giesen Coffee Roasters, enabling bigger roast amounts and an especially precise roast.
The roaster chugs away in Lahti
After this, Kahiwas roaster has been busy in the Niemi harbour in Lahti and the direct trade style is in use both in Kenya and Colombia. The corner stones of the roastery are high quality coffee, a precise roast and ethical purchase procedures. All of Kahiwa’s coffees are bought either straight from the farmer or with 1-2 middlemen but also complete transparency during the process.
On top of this, a major part of the process is favoring long-term partnerships with the farmers over single purchases. This gives the roaster the chance to improve their farm without having to fear the price fluctuations affecting the improvements. Reinikainen has had the chance to witness this first hand for example when the Muriithi family farm had the chance to buy milling-equipment* for coffee processing and also started a small roastery next to the farm.
*Milling is the process of removing the pulp of the coffee berry. Read more about coffee processing here.
Read more about the SLURP coffee experience here Check out Kahiwas coffees here