Friday, July 19, 2024

Muthoni: Woman making millions from selling coffee, restaurant business in Germany

Muthoni Schenidewind, fondly known as Soni, is a Jill of all trades. She is an entrepreneur with multiple philanthropic organizations, a restauranteur in Germany and a coffee farmer.

Muthoni’s coffee shop in Germany is christened Chania Coffee House, after the Chania River in Nyeri County. The shop is popular in her community for offering high-quality coffee sourced from Kenya.

Muthoni shared that she was born and raised in the Mt Kenya region and the Aberdare mountains. Their family heritage has been coffee farming and she is a third-generation farmer.

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“It’s coffee that took me to school. I am part of the generation that knows what it means to be a coffee farmer’s child. Most of our free time, Saturdays & holidays were spent picking coffee on the farms,” she remembered.

Coffee farming funded her education from primary school to university. Muthoni graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Nairobi, majoring in marketing. After university, she worked for several Kenyan companies.

Muthoni decided to relocate to Germany in 2009. She says that her motive was to work in Germany but was also equally thrilled by the notion of experiencing a new culture and life away from home.

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“When I moved here things were a bit easier. There were not a lot of requirements for professionals who want to come and work in Germany,” she said.

Having worked in various marketing roles, Muthoni eventually felt the need for a change. This was how she chanced upon the idea of selling Kenyan coffee in Germany, which at the time was an unexplored market avenue.

“Moving to Europe, I realized that Kenyan coffee was very expensive. I quit my job at Coca-Cola to start my business…everyone knows that Coffee producers are poor. I’ve always wanted to change this narrative,” she said.

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After some research, Muthoni found out that she could bring Kenyan coffee directly to Germany. She also learned that Germans love coffee, so she decided to start a coffee business.

“An average German consumes 160 litres of coffee in a year. Those are the statistics. It’s not a joke,” she pointed out.

Once she got all her paperwork sorted, Muthoni’s coffee business had its first success with the first shipment of coffee containers in 2013. The first batch imported was 30 kilos.

Chania Coffee has seen remarkable growth, importing an average of 57 tonnes annually. Muthoni sells roasted coffee under various brands, including Kijiji Espresso, Nyumbani Espresso, Kaki-Kahawa, and Dark Roast.

She explained that getting into this business can be challenging, given the extensive paperwork and the amount of money required. She noted that the cost of one coffee container can range between Sh. 12.8 million and Sh. 16.1 million.

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