KENYA KAratina AB
Cooperative: Barichu FCS
Washing Station: Karatina
Farmers: 4034 active members
Cultivar: SL28 - SL34
Altitude: 1700 - 1800 masl
Process: Fully washed with double fermentation
Harvest: November 2020 - January 2021
Cherry Price | FOB Price: 5.58 USD/Kg | 8.22 USD/Kg
Screen | Moisture | Density: 15-16 | 10.1% | 0.706 g/ml
Packaging: 30 Kg + GrainPro
Notes: Raspberry, cinnamon, caramel, chamomile
Ikawa profile: KSC basic profile 50g #2
Karatina is a washing station or factory (as they are commonly called in Kenya), located in the city of the same name in Nyeri, probably the most famous coffee growing county in Kenya. The coffee farms located in this county lies in between the Southern slopes of the beautiful Mt Kenya and the foothills of Aberdare ridge.
The altitude of Karatina ranges between 1700-1800 masl with annual average rainfall more than 953 mm. The rain falls in a bimodal pattern with two distinct wet seasons, thus it enjoys two blooms and two harvests per year. The soils of the region are red volcanic soils which are deep, rich in organic matter.
Karatina along with Karindundu, Gatuiri and Gatomboya factories, are a part of the Barichu FCS, founded in 1996. The annual production of green coffee of the cooperative is 451,531 kg from 538 hectares of cultivated area. There are 4,034 active members working under the cooperative.
The cherries, after being harvested and delivered to the factory, undergoes a fully washed or wet processing method with double fermentation. The water from Ragati river is pumped to reservoir tanks and then used for the pulping and the recirculated. After pulping, the coffee is dry fermented overnight, before it's washed in grading channels, then soaked for 24-48 hours in clean water and finally spread out on raised beds for defect selection and sun drying.
Karatina is a Kikuyu name for a wild tree that produces fruits that are used to make the famous Muratina beer. The members of this tribe use it to this day to commemorate ceremonies and perform rituals.
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.