The Giakanja cooperative is located within the famed region of Nyeri, on the southwest slopes of Mt. Kenya. In the cup, we find intense acidity, pink grapefruit, mango, and a softer—almost delicate—melon finish.
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11
1,700 - 1,800 masl
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects and depulped on the day of harvest. Dry fermented for 16-24 hours. Soaked in clean water for an additional 24 hours. Dried on raised beds for 10-18 days.
Giakanja is a wet mill cooperative located at the convergence of the Aberdare range and the western slopes of Mt. Kenya. The elevated climate is very good for slower cherry maturation. The vast majority of this coffee is produced by extremely small smallholders farming the classic red, volcanic soil alongside their houses. This is our first year working with the Giakanja co-op, and we’re very impressed by the quality they produced this year. Kenya continues to be a difficult place for us to do what we believe to be meaningful work, but it has been a very interesting journey and we will continue to seek out new and exciting projects there next year.
“SL” is in reference to single tree selections made by Scott Agricultural Laboratories in 1935-1939. SL34 has a Typica-like genetic background selected from a single tree on the Loresho Estate in Kabete, Kenya. SL28 is of the Bourbon genetic group, and was selected for its drought resistance as well as its extremely high cup quality. SL28 is one of the most well-known and well-regarded varieties in Africa. It has consequently spread from Kenya to other parts of Africa as well as Central and South America. Both varieties are non-hybrid, and very susceptible to disease.
Ruiru 11 is a composite variety made of many varieties. Catimor and a multi-cross selection involving K7, SL28, N39, Rume Sudan, among others (male parent). Ruiru 11 owes its existence to a coffee berry disease (CBD) epidemic in 1968 that lead to the loss of 50% of Kenya’s production. The crisis sparked action. In the 1970’s, the coffee research station at Ruiru, which gives Ruiru 11 its name, began an intensive breeding program for varieties that were immune to CBD. This led to the development of Ruiru 11, which was released in 1985.
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.