Zabuni Coffee hosts open house, gives tours to the public

By Alicia Naspretto | KSBN Local 4 News, Hastings, NE
Posted: Tue 3:47 PM, Nov 19, 2019

One Grand Island resident is changing the way coffee is bought and sold around the world. Kenya native, Laban Njuguna, is taking trade into his own hands and fixing issues coffee farmers have been dealing with for ages.

Njuguna has lived in the United States for twenty years now, but has never forgotten where he came from.

"I feel like I'm fully American and fully Kenyan," Njuguna said. "For me making this connection and being that bridge is very, very important."

For the last seven years, he and his wife have been working on setting up the Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction. The company will be giving farmers more direct access to the American market and over 60% more profit than what they typically would have received before.

"The American market pays really well for Kenyan coffee, it's just that that money doesn't get back to the farmers," Njuguna said. "That's what this is about. This is about the farmer having efficient access to the buyers and the buyers knowing that what they pay is going to get back to the rightful people that raised or grew that coffee."

For farmers Alice Cheruiyot and Philip Sogomo with the Sogomo Coffee Estate, they say these are changes they never saw coming.

"I thought this was going to be a breakthrough for what we had going on for twenty years," Sogomo said. "Today has marked the true reality for that. We are grateful of course that the kenyan government allowed direct sale of coffee."

Many members of the Kenyan government and parliament attended Tuesday's open house, thanking Grand Island and Nebraska for this opportunity.

Zabuni sales will be starting Wednesday morning both on site and online. They will also host cupping and taste testing for their buyers.