CUPPING : Dark chocolate, berries, walnuts, plummy, syrupy
Roast : Medium
Producer : A A K Co-operative growers
Type : Arabica
Varietals : Arusha, Bourbon, Typica, Catimor, Caturra
Processing : Washed
Altitude : 1500 MASL
Prep : A/X
A.A.K Co-Op or the Apo Angra Kange Co-operative Society started in the 60’s with the vision to give people a better life and build a future for their children. Today, the co-op has roughly eighteen hundred coffee growers, each with an average of 30 – 60 coffee trees. As the co-op has grown, community spirit and solidarity amongst the members has been the foundation of A.A.K ’s longevity. In fact the names that make up A.A.K all mean’ brotherhood’.
The co-op network operates through 65 ‘cluster groups’, each cluster group has a maximum of 35 growers. Members have their own record book kept by the co-op showing the number of trees cultivated, quantities of coffee brought in for processing, its grade and how much was paid. Record keeping is essential for certification of the Common Code for the Coffee Community [4C Project] In a nutshell, 4C is a code of conduct based on principles of sustainability, the environment, social benefits and the exclusion of unacceptable practices such as child labour. A.K.K Co-Operative has over 600 of its farmers 4C certified.
An evolving credit scheme has made coffee pulpers and agricultural implements easily available to growers. To date, over 120 pulpers are on farms thanks to the scheme. Corrugated iron for roofing is also accessible through credit, part of the vision for every farmer to have an iron roof. Plans are under way for kit houses to become obtainable through a deposit and loan which is backed by a major bank. To keep costs down, the co-op has its own sawmill to produce the housing timber, providing employment and training. Field training network is another benefit that’s tangible to all the members. All trainers are farmers themselves who have experienced firsthand the benefits of pruning, land management and cherry quality. Everything being taught is based on experience and proven results.
The co-op has been running and education programme; a real investment in the next generation. In 2016, over 360 students received free schooling through the co-op. In turn, high performing students can be offered funding for agriculture or accounting degrees.