IBURU COFFEE is an Arabica coffee variety grown under shade at high altitudes on the highlands of Mount Kenya. It does well in a rare combination of cool climate and deep volcanic soils found in this region. Coffee grown at high altitudes in fertile volcanic soils tend to be higher in acidity which is considered a desirable quality. The acidity is identified as a bright, sparkling sensation with nuanced qualities.
IBURU was started as a social enterprise to support small holder coffee farmers living next to the Mount Kenya forest. Many farmers applied indigenous farming practices that incorporated inter-cropping with shade trees when coffee was introduced in the region in 1935. They grew native tree species on their farms which offered habitat and food for many birds. However, farmers began to remove these shade trees when the coffee economy crashed in the 1980s with the hope of increased yields. As the coffee prices worsened in the 1990s, many of them also uprooted their coffee bushes and continue to do so today. This has contributed to massive deforestation in the area surrounding Mount Kenya forest as more land is converted for other agricultural activities like dairy and tea production. Timber extraction from the rain-forest to supplement the strained livelihood sources also became rampant further threatening the climate and biodiversity.
Therefore the project was an intervention to manage such key drivers of deforestation while providing sustainable livelihood alternatives for the local rural community. The project aims to conserve the forest and increase tree cover cover in the adjacent areas by promoting shaded coffee farms as a form of agroforestry and disseminating ecological knowledge about forest resources and biodiversity conservation. Shaded coffee farms have many co-benefits including enhanced ecosystem services as pollination, climate regulation, improved biodiversity, pest control, and nutrient sequestration. Trees used can provide alternative food sources as fruits and improve land productivity hence sustain economic returns. They are also a source of wood thereby decreasing the communities’ need to exploit the adjacent forest.
Our farmers naturally process the coffee by harnessing energy from the sun which reduces the water footprint.
Our objectives are:
to create an avenue for the small holder coffee farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers
to build resilient rural communities through participatory learning, engaging the youth and creating sustainable livelihood sources for coffee farmers
to build resilient yet productive ecosystems against the harsh weather elements of climate change
You contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by buying our products:
The social spirit behind the coffee makes Iburu more than just a tasty experience for the consumer. Behind Iburu coffee, there is only winners: good for the nature, saving the climate, fair for the farmers and their families which results in an amazing quality and taste experience.
Not only do I like Iburu coffee for its mild and fruity taste. As an ecologist it is important to me that Iburu coffee is produced in a system that is friendly to natural systems, from the tiny soil life to the larger bird life.