KENYA IRERA AB
Origin: Central Kenya
Cooperative: Kariua FCS
Wet-mill: Irera Factory
Cultivars: SL28 & SL34
Altitude: 1600 – 1850 masl
Process: Fully washed with double fermentation and sun-dried on African beds
Harvest: November 2017 - January 2018
Grade: AB (screen 15 - 16)
Warehouse: Santiago & Barcelona
Packaging: 30 Kg w/ GrainPro
Notes: Grapefruit, blueberries, caramel, black tea
Ikawa Roasting Profile: KSC Kenya 50 grs. #2
Espresso: Both espresso and filter
The New Irera Factory is located near the Kariaini district, in the Muranga county. It is a member of the Kariua Farmers Cooperative Society. The Coop has 2.200 active members, an annual production of 111.607 kgs and an estimated of 666 hectares planted. The other factories of the Coop are: Mutheru, Mutitu and Githaiti.
The Muranga coffee growing region lies on the eastern foothills of the Aberdare Ridge (3.720 m). Smallholder farmers grow their coffees in this region on plots averaging 0.33 hectares with an average of 250 trees each.
Muranga accounts for more 8% of the total coffee production of Kenya. There are approximately 77.000 active grower members in 36 coops. The altitude range of the cultivated areas goes from 1340 to 1950 masl. Varieties cultivated here are mostly SL28, SL34 and to some degree Ruiru11 and Batian.
Despite its proximity to Ethiopia, coffee was not cultivated in Kenya until 1893, when the "Fathers of the Holy Ghost" (French catholic missionaries), introduced coffee trees from Reunion Island and planted them near Mombasa.
** Interesting Fact: The Bourbon variety was first cultivated on a small island that today is known as "Reunion Island". It is located in Africa, in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It is considered a region of France and until 1789 its name was "Bourbon Island", in honor of the royal house of the Bourbons. **
In 1896, the first plantations were introduced in Kiambu - Kikuyu district, a very fertile area, which in 1912 already saw large plantations of several acres of expansion; there were mainly cultivated Bourbon and Mokka varieties.
While credit for the introduction of coffee in Kenya corresponds to Catholic missionaries, were the English settlers, who accelerated the importance of coffee in the Kenyan economy. Large-scale production of coffee and other crops, were heavily increased to export them into Europe, in order to pay the exorbitant debts generated by the construction of the railway connecting Uganda with the port of Mombasa in 1901.
After Kenyan independence from the British Empire in 1963, the long experience and extensive knowledge about coffee production was very well adopted by small local farmers, resulting in the high quality standards with which today Kenyan coffee is known in the world.
There are two particular varieties that attract most of the interest from specialty coffee buyers in Kenya, these are: SL 28 and SL 34.
The Scott Laboratories were hired to develop new cultivars between 1934 and 1963. The development of cultivars SL, was based on the Mokka and Bourbon varieties, which were introduced into Kenya by Scottish and French missionaries, from Yemen and Reunion Island respectively.
Today, these two varieties are responsible for most of the top quality coffees produced in Kenya, but they are susceptible to coffee leaf rust and other diseases.
Kenya has done a huge job, trying to find disease resistant varieties. The "Ruiru 11" was the first variety to be considered a success by the "Kenyan Coffee Board". Unfortunately, it has not been well received by importers and the specialty coffee industry in general.
By the end of 2010, a new variety called "Batian" rust resistant, and which some say has a better cup than "Ruiru 11", was introduced. We will still have to wait a few more years to know its full potential in the cup and productivity.