This is our first of the many Kenyan selections we made this year, and it comes from one of our favorite producing regions in Kenya: Kiambu. In the cup we find Key lime acidity with deep blackberry and mango-like sweetness.
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian
1,600 - 1,800 masl
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects. Depulped. Fermented for 24 hours. Washed. Dry fermented for an additional 12-24 hours. Washed. Soaked in tanks for 12-18 hours. Dried on raised beds for ~15 days.
The Wamaguma factory is affiliated with Ritho Farmer's Cooperative Society. This co-op is located in Gatundu in Kiambu County, and was founded in 1972. Working in Kenya continues to be a struggle, as does growing and producing the quality and profiles that we normally have expected in years past. There are many theories around what is potentially happening in Kenya, and continue to navigate investing our time and money into the future of Kenyan coffee.
“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 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.