When we first began trading with Josphat in Kenya back in 2011, we could hardly say no. Josphat came to us with such enthusiasm, and positivism coupled with professionalism and an obvious understanding of quality – he was a perfect match for team DRW.
The Kenya coffee industry is not like many other origins. Years of bureaucracy have created a system unlike no other (save for Tanzania) a remnant of British colonialism, coupled with an influence from the tea trade – Kenya favours a weekly auction system for marketing its coffees. It is not possible to purchase directly from estates, and cooperatives also did not have the power to export directly. As such all coffee exported from Kenya, had to pass through the hands of licensed exporters. Multi-National companies have dominated this system for many years, with their endless supply of cheap European financing. But times are changing and the list of registered exporters grows each year.
Jowam is one such exporter – trained in coffee by a respected German trade house, Josphat, owner of Jowam ltd has been operating for over a decade. Since the company’s inception he has made a name for himself in the specialty world – supplier of our Thunguri, Kiri and Jungle estate coffees, Rejeju and Amakui – as well as our house blend – AB Asali, AA Acacias and AA Blue Mountain. It isn’t just the delicious coffees that we all love and enjoy from Josphat, but the associated info with it. Josphat is in regular contact with the Co Operatives, Mills, Estates and marketing agents. Through this extended network we are able to get all the additional information that roasters (consumers) require from varietal, soil type and altitude of growing regions, but co-op information, history of coffee development and general Kenya Industry news and developments.
We recently met up with Josphat – a regular visitor to the Specialty Coffee events, he understands the importance of networking with his clients and understanding the markets where his products end up. This information sharing allows him to return to Kenya, relationships having been forged. Sharing knowledge with cooperatives and estates he buys from regularly for us, Josphat can pass on the knowledge he gains from the trips. Knowledge is key.