Caffe Del Duca Ltd was established and incorporated in Kenya in 2008. One of the directors Mr. Gunther Herhaus having worked as a Managing Director for Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Ethiopia and Topical Farm Management Kenya Ltd (the largest coffee estates management firm in East and Central Africa) saw the need to establish value addition for coffee after realizing the product sold in Italy is roasted and re exported to Kenya as espresso.
Gunther’s experience in Ethiopia and in Kenya realized that espresso was 70% Robusta and 30% Arabica. He thus embarked on a fact finding mission by doing a survey on small scale farmers to establish where Robusta is grown. He found that Robusta is widely grown in Western Kenya and smuggled to Uganda. He thus engaged Lukolole and Namasoli Farmers Cooperative Societies in an aggressive campaign of instilling and nurturing coffee farming best practices. Mr Gunther had realized that the best quality coffee comes from small holder farmers and thus the commitment to integrating them a crucial building block in the value chain. Mt Gunther partnered with Ellio Lolli who was born and raised in a coffee farm in Thamuru, Gatanga and is passionate about Kenyan coffee. Lolli has invented the coffee dry net system, made first dry pulper in Kenya.
Caffe Del Duca derives its name and philosophy from the story of The Duke of Aosta who is buried in Nyeri in a coffee estate which belongs to Catholic Church. The duke would have been the future king in Italy but chose to be buried with his soldiers in Kenya. The Duke had an attachment to the Nyeri coffee, the finest, most prestigious and expensive in the world.
Caffe Del Duca Ltd established a nursery in Thika to upgrade (grafting) the existing varieties of SL 28 SL-28 cultivar (Bourbon hybrid from the 1930’s developed by Scot Labs) with Ruiru 11 variety which gives a coffee variety resistant to common coffee diseases like leaf rust and Coffee Berry Disease CBD and has higher yields. The firm also embarked on training small holder farmers on coffee farming best practices.
In 2010 the firm imported a coffee roaster, pod machine and the silos to have a final product and Caffe Del Duca started roasting and packaging its own espresso. Our espresso has low toxic residual level as the upgraded coffee variety is resistant to pests and diseases thus only limited use of pesticides as well as the fact that small holder farmers are continuously being taken through the steps of adopting organic farming. Today the firm is working with over 4,000 small holder farmers across the country with emphasis on robusta farming which has been neglected. The firm is continously fostering strategic parternships to enhance quality of Kenyan coffee and all stakeholders. The firm is making true the dream of having a high quality Kenyan espresso.
Caffe Del Duca is thus built on the realization that today, a jar of instant coffee can be found in majority of homes/offices and that consumers are increasingly trying out different types of coffee, such as cappuccino, espresso, mocha and latte. The expanding consumer demand for product choice, quality and value has led to an increase in the coffees being made available to a discerning public. The firm has realised that ‘value’ is the way in which the consumer views one’s product in comparison with competitive offerings. The firm is striving to achieve profitable and sustainable coffee farming value chain, with high quality linkages from where the coffee is grown in the field, to the way in which it reaches the consumer. This is evident in our motto which reads “Quality Kenyan beans: quality espresso experience”.