“The Home of Kenya’s Finest Coffee”
Fairview Coffee Estate is an award winning and multi eco certified 250-acre coffee farm located in the central highlands of Kenya in Kiambu county. Fairview Coffee Estate is set in beautiful gardens, a colonial times farm house surrounded with 150 acres of coffee bushes, indigenous forest and bushes a river and small mammals and birds.
The coffee farm traces its history back to the colonial Kenya period when it was first established by Mrs. Eveline Poy in 1924. Since being establishment it ownership has changed several times. Its current owner is the former Kenyan Ambassador to the USA, Amb. Leornard Oliver Kibige and his family, who have owned the farm for almost four decades.
Why it stands out
Fairview coffee estate tourism offer is mainly an agricultural education tour that has been enhanced by exceptional guiding an interpretation of the attractions combined with practical elements that keep the visitor engaged in various activities throughout the tour.
The setting, the attractions and the guiding is amazing. The coffee estate has so many attractions squeezed in 250 acres of land and the activities are educative and engaging such that the four-hour walking tour of the coffee farm with its beautiful gardens and nature trails feels like an hour. By the time you are leaving the farm, you will feel like a relaxed and refreshed professional coffee farmer, a barrister and a guide all at the same time.
The destination has multiple eco certifications, is committed to protecting and conserving the environment and respects the rights of its employees and local community.
How To Get There
Fairview Coffee Estate is located off Kiambu road, a 30-minute drive from the Nairobi Central Business district and 10 minutes from Runda estate or the US Embassy in Kenya. Or get there with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Opening Hours and Charges
Morning tours- 10 am to 12 pm
Afternoon tours- 2pm to 4 pm
Rates; Non-Residents $USD 30, Residents Ksh 2,000, Kenyan Citizens(Adults) Ksh 1,000, Children 12-18 years Ksh 500. Children below 12 accompanied by paying adult-Free.
Where to Eat
The farm does not have a restaurant. However, meals can be arranged during the tours provided that the management is given notice in good time.
Coffee is available through out.
What to Do and See
Coffee plantation tour
Our visit to the Fairview coffee estate began with an agricultural educational tour around the 150 acres of land under coffee where we got the chance to hear about and see the entire process behind that morning cup of coffee which most people love so much.
While walking through the coffee plantations, our guide, Millicent, educated us on the history of coffee growing in Ethiopia, in Kenya, on the farm and globally as well. She also educated us on the two main types of coffee species i.e. the Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee, telling us the difference between the two species, why most farmers prefer Arabica coffee, its different breeds, its farming requirements and the different coffee diseases. We were also schooled on how and why to it is important to “pamper” coffee trees to produce premium quality beans.
We got the opportunity to observe the coffee pickers do what they know best. Millicent, our guide, informed us that the coffee pickers were from the local communities who lived inside the farm. They inherited the coffee bean picking and processing skills from their parents and were likely to pass the skills to their children.
Coffee Factory tour
Later on we visited the coffee factory where the picked coffee beans from the plantation are washed, their skins removed and the coffee beans sorted into various grades, dried and stored ready for roasting and packaging.
We were informed that the best quality coffee is exported and processed in foreign countries, rebranded and shipped back to the country and resold at a higher price. The poor quality coffee on the other hand is sold to local brewers, processed locally and sold locally. The image on the left below shows the best quality coffee that is exported while the image on the right shows the low quality coffee that has never boarded a plane or ship and is what is probably in you cup right now as instant coffee.
The Coffee barrister tour
The educational tour ended with a visit to the coffee barrister who was also the coffee taster for an inside glimpse of what it means to be a barrister/coffee taster. The barrister took us through the process of coffee beans roasting and coffee tasting. We were practically taught how to tell the difference between light roast coffee, medium roast coffee, dark roast coffee and charred coffee by using a spoon, a cup and our sense of smell and taste. We found out from a series of smelling and tasting activities that the aroma and taste was unique to each type of roast. The dark roast from the AA brand of coffee had the most appealing smell and taste while the charred coffee, let’s just say nobody liked it from the smell so there was no need for tasting.
The barrister also showed us how Fairview packaged their coffee for exporting (None of the coffee baring their brand is sold locally) in small beautiful sisal gunny bags that were made by Samburu women through a partnership. The bags have an African touch to sell our culture abroad.
Banana plantation and Dairy farm tour
The agriculture educational tour was not complete without a visit to the banana plantation. The banana plants were almost the height of palm trees and some of the plants produced bananas with reddish-purple skins. We also visited the dairy farm to witness firsthand the breeding of dairy cows and the milking process. The tour became sentimental at this moment when we learnt that the calves of dairy cows are separated from the mothers at birth. Apparently the mothers give out so much milk that the feeding calf may die due to over feeding.
The second part of visit was a nature tour of the grounds where we were taken to the Fairview Estate picnic and wedding grounds. The grounds were covered with green and well-manicured grass that you would easily mistake for a golf course. The grounds are used for hosting weddings and photoshoots.
We were also taken to the natural and artificial water fall within the property and the farm’s manmade dam. We passed through nature trails that joggers and cyclers frequent for exercising and hippos from the nearby marsh use for grazing paths.
My Experience ratings
Fairview coffee estate has several attractions, the coffee plantations, the coffee factory, the coffee, the local community, the beautiful gardens, the banana plantation and the nature trails with a river, waterfalls, a manmade dam, indigenous trees and bushes with an abundance of birdlife, monkeys, insects and the visiting hippos all complementing each other to give an amazing and engaging experience.
On the downside, accommodation is no longer offered at the farm and there is no restaurant. However, meals can be arranged and accommodation is just 30 minutes away. Rating; 8/10
Guiding and interpretation rating
The first thing you will notice about Coffee Fairview Estate is that the guides are from the local community who have lived on the farm for most of their lives. The guides have so much information about the coffee farm, the local communities and on coffee processing. Every detail of every process or object is clearly explained by the guides.
The tour is practical where you are practically involved in most of the activities that take place in the farm e.g. coffee picking, roasting and tasting.
The paths are clearly marked for navigation purposes and information boards are strategically placed all over the estate. Most of the trees and bananas plants have name tags. Rating; 10/10
Fairview Coffee estate has been certified by two eco certification organizations. It has been certified by Rain Forest Alliance and UTZ. During the tour you will get to see signs that promote conservation of wildlife within the property.
All waste from the coffee factory and dairy farm are used for generating biogas and manure.
The employees are well paid, insured and have flexible working hours. It is the only destination that is not opened on Sundays or religious holidays as the management respects the religious beliefs of its employees. On Sundays or on religious holidays, all employees are given the opportunity to attend church and spend time with their families.
All produce from the farm e.g. milk and bananas are sold to the local community at subsidized prices. The farm is planning to start a school inside the farm and a medical clinic for the local community and employees.
The estate is committed to maintaining its natural environment and indigenous forest, despite pressure from the real estate development craze in the area. Many of the farms surrounding the coffee estate have been converted into prime housing units.
Overall product rating 9/10
Fairview Coffee Estate is definitely a must visit for those who want to escape the city stress or want a mixed urban educational tours or those interested in knowing how their food is grown. It is an ideal place for social gatherings too.
The destination however should work on its marketing and operating days. Most people are available to visit such destinations on the weekends and holidays and therefore closing the destination on Sundays and religious holidays may not be the perfect strategy.
Visit Fairview Coffee Estate with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Reviewed on 20th May 2017 by Job Odhiambo