Our first Kenyan release of the season is a classic red profile from Kirinyaga. In the cup we find cranberry, raspberry, and hibiscus.
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Hand sorted for ripeness and uniformity. Floated to further remove defects and de-pulped on the day of harvest. Dry fermented for 24-36 hours under shade. Washed again, and graded by density in washing channels. Dried on raised beds until moisture content reaches 10%.
Kamwangi is one of two factories run by the new Ngariama Cooperative Society in Kirinyaga. It is located in the northeast corner of Kirinyaga, on the southern slope of Mt. Kenya. Most of the producers here deliver SL28 and SL34, however, as with most coffees from Kenyan cooperatives, there is also a sprinkling of Ruiru 11 and Batian. Kamwangi consistently produces some of the highest quality coffee in Kenya, and is a coop we look forward to tasting every year.
“SL” is in reference to single tree selections made by Scott Agricultural Laboratories in 1935-1939. 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. SL28 is non-hybrid, and very susceptible to disease.
Ruiru 11 is a Catimor hybrid that owes its existence to a coffee berry disease epidemic in 1968 that lead to the loss of 50% of Kenya’s production. The crisis sparked action. In the 1970s, the coffee research station at Ruiru—which gives Ruiru 11 its name—began an intensive breeding program of varieties that are immune to coffee berry disease, ultimately leading to the release of Ruiru 11 in 1985. Batian is resistant to both leaf rust and coffee berry disease. It was created via single-tree selections from fifth filial (F5) generations from the male parent of some Ruiru 11 progenies.
Batian is a composite variety, mixing three different pure line varieties. The varieties involved in the original crosses are: SL28, SL34, Rume Sudan, N39, K7, SL4 and the Timor Hybrid.
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.