DRINK MY SWEAT / KUNYWA JASHO LANGU: COFFEE KENYA PROJECT
All my life I've been drinking coffee but for the last 8 years I've been digging deep into the behind the scenes of the industry as it has exploded across the globe... This new book unveils Kenyan coffee and the processes that your coffee goes through before it even gets to the roasters. This is as real as it gets and is a true observation of the hard work that people all over the world are putting into producing YOUR cup of coffee. The book will transport you to the streets of Nairobi and Kenyan coffee farms.
We're running this kickstarter campaign to fund only 50% of the printing costs of the new book, ‘Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya’. This book is the second in the ‘Drink My Sweat’ series, an ongoing photographic documentary project which connects the people who DRINK coffee to the people who PRODUCE it. Backers of our campaign will be getting the book for practically cost price and six months before its official release.
On my visit to Kenya, I couldn't help but make comparisons with the experience of my first coffee trip to Colombia. There are many similarities between all the coffee producing countries, but the cultural differences are fascinating and profound. This was my first trip to the African continent and I was keen to dispel the misrepresentations that I had encountered throughout my life. I was determined to document Kenya, an established and in many ways leading coffee producing country.
People had no hesitation asking for me to take their picture or telling me it was ok for me to take their picture, and less of a barrier to me asking permission. In-between long truck drives I had to slow down to document the faces of dignified and dedicated mill workers responsible for processing the green coffee. Observing the 1960’s post-imperialist Nairobi architecture which gave the Nairobi Coffee Auction (see below) the look and feel of every school and public library that I'd visited as a child in London. It was also inspiring to leave the city to visit and meet the rural communities part of co-operatives of 500+ farmers producing some of the best coffee in the land. The images in this book go some way to showing the human faces behind what many consider to be the world’s number one coffee producer and the collaborative effort that goes into producing a single cup of coffee.
The project title, ‘Drink My Sweat’, is a Kenyan expression and translates from the Swahili ‘Kunywa Jasho Langu’. It's a reference to the intense work that goes into producing coffee at origin and getting it to the roasteries, roasting it and serving it. Hard work and dedication at every step.
I have an obsession with books, as much as I have an obsession with drinking coffee and a life long obsession with taking pictures. This book and this project really mean something to me, I'm not going to cut any corners or have any early nights.
The book will feature some really insightful original editorial content from La Cabra roasters in Denmark, an interview with Maina the manager of the Muthua-ini Factory, Mutheka Farmers Cooperative Society featured in the book and some Kenyan smallholders. Alongside the photography, this helps bring the story to life.
The cover will be screen printed in white block text on luxurious Forest Green GF Smith Colorplan paper. The editorial insert is printed on green GF Smith Extract paper made from 20% recycled coffee cups. There will also be a bonus foldout poster with full bleed image on one side and editorial on the other. This really will be a book to get your creative and coffee senses tingling.
Photographer - Jake Green started the ‘Drink My Sweat’ project in 2016 with ‘Beber Mi Sudor: Coffee Colombia’, before travelling to Kenya to develop the series further. Jakes background in coffee projects (Dialling In & Maillard Effect) helps him to produce epic images that captivate the viewer and make good coffee sense. @brthrjcb
Editor - James Cartwright is a long time supporter and collaborator of Jake, the pair have produced Pie & Mash London, Beber Mi Sudor & The Bookmakers Studio together. In summary, James does the words - Jake does the pictures. A perfect blend.
Designer - Melanie Mues of Mues Design has taken care of all art direction and shaped the look and feel of the project, injecting some style and flair to the layouts. Melanie is leading in her field and has recently produced work for Tate, Hayward Gallery, Martin Parr and the V&A.
Collaborators - Morten Wennersgaard of Nordic Approach who runs a sourcing company focusing solely on high quality green coffees. They do the groundwork to identify, improve, select, and import the best coffees from the most interesting origins. Morten and his team introduced Jake to the leading coffee producers in Kenya and helped facilitate access to places like the rarely documented Nairobi Auction House.
Roaster - La Cabra is a modern coffee roastery based out of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Mikkel and Esben have been buying Kenyan coffee for a long time, so we thought they would have a great perspective on this amazing coffee producing country.
Printers - Park Communications a tried and tested print collaborator with Jake Green. They printed Jakes sold out Pie & Mash series, 'Beber Mi Sudor: Coffee Colombia' and The Bookmakers Studio, alongside other beautiful secret projects!...
This campaign aims to partly fund the production of a limited run 96pp, unbound 260 x 190mm first edition of the book, with a 8 page folded booklet insert & losely inserted introduction pages and a poster. (All will be come clear when you see the dummy images! I promise) We're giving backers the chance to get a copy of this book at practically cost price about six months before it goes on sale anywhere else.
Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya preview exhibition will launch on 23rd July 2019 - running until 4th August 2019 at No.1 Hoe Street in Walthamstow. This allows you to preview the images before you back the project if you get there quickly enough… we are also looking for other spaces to show the photography once that exhibitions finishes so please get in touch with any suggestions.
Risks and challenges
Relax! Sit back and wait for that lovely package to arrive just at the right time.
All pictures have been taken, interviews are being arranged as we speak and the layouts are being signed off. We will be ready to print this book in mid-September. It is VERY unlikely that anything will go wrong. With the help of Jakes small independent publishing company Leyton of London behind us, you won’t have to wait long until you get your book lovingly delivered no matter where you are in the world!
- (30 days)