This is our first time working with this particular cooperative, located on the western border of Kirinyaga––right next to Nyeri. In the cup we find red currant, limeade, and hibiscus.
SL28, SL34, Batian, Ruiru 11
Hand-picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects. De-pulped on the day of harvest. Wet fermented in tile tanks for 12-14 hours. Dried for 15-20 days on raised beds in a covered structure that is open air during the day and closed at night.
We purchased this coffee purely because of the strength of the sample we were sent. Though we know little about this particular cooperative, we are very familiar with coffees from Kirinyaga — a region that produces some of the absolute best coffees in the world. We are always happily surprised when we cup stellar coffees from producers or co-ops we've never encountered before, as it opens up new doors for potential partnerships.
“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 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 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.