Arabica Coffee is one of the favourite coffee flavours in the world. It grows right here in Nigeria, Jos precisely.
Living in Jos comes with many privileges. When you’re living at an altitude of over 4,000 feet, you get to enjoy cool weather and a generally beautiful climate. You also get some of the finest fruits that’d probably never grow in low altitude places like Lagos of just below 135 feet.
There are strawberry farms, tea farms, and as we now know, lots of coffee.
David Dung Dayi, a farmer and food processor, is pouring a lot of his passion and energy into making sure coffee from Plateau becomes mainstream.
It really did start with one tree. “My father was my original tastemaster,” David explained. “I’d roast the coffee, and give my dad to taste, then he’d tell me whether or not the taste was good.”
That was a long time ago. Between then and now, David has moved from place to place, within Nigeria and even beyond. But one thing hasn’t changed; his unending love for coffee.
“I’m Birom and Kim means Eagle in my language,” David said, “I chose to brand our product with local names.”
He’s learned about planting and processing methods from everywhere he can. Kim’s Coffee as a brand is only just about a year old, but it holds so much promise.
“When I came back from Brazil, I started adding value to the product, roasting and testing,” David said.
“I think you should try out the coffee,” he said as he poured some coffee into a coffee maker.
The first thing you notice about the coffee is that the smell fills every room it’s in. A fresh, coffee smell.
“We roast only Arabica for now,” David said.
There are two types of coffee commonly grown for drinking; Arabica and Robusta. Robusta, which you’re most likely to find in your local shop in Nigeria, has a strong, harsh taste, with high caffeine content.
Arabica on the other hand, is sweeter and softer, with a winey taste and pleasant aroma. Add the fact that it has less caffeine than Robusta.
“Arabica is better suited for this climate,” David said.
The past, for Kim’s Coffee has been mostly about testing the product, and gathering as much feedback as possible to make the product better.
Then sometime in August, this tweet happened;
Since then, they’ve received a significant boost in demand.
Robusta coffee might be harsher and more bitter, but yield is quite high, compared to Arabica, which tends to have lower yield. But a lot of the low yield problems in Jos now is because of some of below par farming methods, where in some cases, farmers don’t get enough value. For David, it’s not just about adding value to the beans, it’s about adding value to the entire process.
“A lot of the time,” David explained, “I’m with the other farmers too, educating them on ways to increase yield. A lot of the problems we currently face is because of preservation techniques and raising good seedlings.”
“The State government is showing some interest.” David said.
While David is obsessed about nature and finesse, a lot of his priorities appear to be brown, coffee brown. And so he can focus on making the product even better, he gets a lot of help from his wife, Salamah, who handles the numbers. A lot of the support also comes from his brother, and 3 workers.
But packaging is the king’s trusted messenger. And David knows this. Kim’s coffee is packed in 500mg and 250mg small cotton sacks on the outside. It comes in two flavours; Dark and Full City (medium) roast. On the inside is a plastic wrap to help keep out moisture and retain freshness.
“We chose this type of packaging first, because it is eco-friendly, and then re-usable,” David explained. “So when you run out of coffee, and you have to stare at the sack, it’s a reminder that you need a refill.”
David’s obsession with recycling and eco-friendliness permeates his entire life. He stores the coffee husk because beauty enthusiasts can use it “as a facial scrub”.
“We don’t use any artificial fertilizers in cultivation,” David said, “only animal dung.”
Jos has a long an interesting history for many Nigerians. Many think of Jos and artistic talent like M.I and P-Square come to mind. Others think of Jos and memories of ethno-religious conflict come to mind.
But soon, soon, when you raise a cup of coffee to sip, you’ll smell the richness and freshness of Arabica coffee, probably Kim's, and think of Jos.