Since breaking ground for its Sh650 million headquarters-cum-coffee processing complex in Ruiru, Dormans Coffee has stepped up its efforts to increase production and sales volumes through direct farmer engagements.
The firm, owned by ECOM Coffee Group and has been in Kenya since 1950, now has a processing, packaging, warehousing and trading facility in Ruiru capable of handling more than 15,000 tonnes of coffee annually.
Dormans sales manager Ken Teyie spoke to the Business Daily on new developments at firm.
YOUR NEW PLANT IS UP AND RUNNING NOW. HOW HAS THIS CHANGED DORMANS’ BUSINESS?
We have enhanced processing into various end-user products for sale locally and abroad. We have employed staff to oversee roasting, packaging and execute distribution of packaged roasted coffee to our clients.
We have also become agents of leading international coffee machine and equipment brands with a view to enabling Kenyan establishments make good coffee products.
HOW HAS DORMANS ENDEARED ITSELF TO COFFEE FARMERS?
The ultimate goal is paying on time. We have invested in training our farmer partners on good coffee farm husbandry to improve production as well as quality of beans.
We are part of the Fairtrade movement that promotes premium payments for farmers.
DO YOU SELL RAW OR PROCESSED COFFEE?
We emphasise on value addition and that is what informed our investment on a world-class factory complex. This has created jobs and improved our prices for the finished product.
HAS THIS BENEFITED LOCAL FARMERS?
Yes, they are assured of a ready market for all their products.
WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ARTCAFÉ?
We have been partners with Artcaffe as their main supplier of coffee and related accessories since its establishment. In 2014, Dormans divested from the coffee shop business and sold its coffee shops to Artcaffe. We now focus on our core business of roasting and supplying top quality coffee products.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE HAPPENING AT YOUR 10-ACRE PROPERTY?
Yes, we realised Kenya lacks professionally trained coffee makers and this has seen us invest in a world-class institute, Nairobi School of Coffee by Dormans, to offer advanced Barista and bespoke coffee courses. This means better coffee in a cup as well as new varieties such as pastries and cookies — all aimed at enhancing coffee consumption.
The biggest market of baristas (skilled coffee maker) has been the UAE where coffee is becoming a very big hit. Those graduating from our school are also absorbed locally in the ever-growing coffee shops field in Kenya.
Our trainers are SCA certified — making the Nairobi School of Coffee certificate a much sought-after tool by any aspiring barista. We get students from all over the world to train at the Nairobi School of Coffee.
We are now processing Dormans coffee syrup locally thereby reducing money spent for many years in importing the product. We are also anchor sponsors and founder of Kenya National Barista Championships where Kenyan youth compete in making the best coffee cup.
Lord Eroll’s restaurant barista Hillary Mugasitsi represented Kenya at this year’s Barista championship held Boston.
HOW CAN THE COFFEE BUSINESS BE IMPROVED TO BENEFIT ALL PLAYERS?
Tighten controls on who roasts and packs coffee in Kenya. Recently, we have witnessed an increase in the number of coffee roasters, some genuinely licensed while some are plain quacks.