KENYA kiandu AA
Washing Station: Kiandu
Farmers: 806 active members (242 female, 564 male)
Cultivar: SL28 - SL34 - Ruiru 11 (Grafted with SL 28)
Altitude: 1766 masl
Process: Fully washed with double fermentation
Harvest: November 2021 - January 2022
Cherry Price | FOB Price: 6.33 USD/kg | 10.21 USD/Kg
Screen | Moisture | Density: 17-18 | 9.5% | 0.724 g/ml
Packaging: 30 Kg with GrainPro
Notes: Blueberries, brown sugar, red apple, strawberry
The Kiandu washing station is located in the central region of Kenya, more specifically in Nyeri County, located on the fertile slopes of Mount Kenya at an altitude of 1,766 meters above sea level.
Kiandu is part of the Mutheka FCS, which consists of nearly 5,643 active members. Each member on average owns about 225 coffee trees, and most farms also grow other crops such as corn, beans, and cassava.
Farmers here mainly grow the SL28 and SL34 varieties, but as with almost all cooperatives in Kenya, they can be mixed with other cultivars such as Ruiru 11 and Batian; Although the latter are present in a very small proportion compared to the SL.
In Kenya, when a factory processes coffees from many different smallholders, sorting the cherries is the most important step in ensuring cup quality and batch consistency. The cooperatives give these growers more control to selectively handpick and deliver only the ripest cherries to the factory, but additional cherries selection is also done at the factory before pulping.
This lot was processed using the fully washed method, where a dry fermentation is carried out after pulping. Then, once the coffee is washed in concrete channels, it is soaked in clean water for 48 hours to ensure that no mucilage remains on the parchment, which is also known as double fermentation.
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 the most interest from specialty coffee buyers in Kenya, these are: SL 28 and SL 34.
Scott Laboratories were contracted to develop new cultivars between 1934 and 1963. The development of the SL cultivars was based on the Mokka and Bourbon varieties, which were introduced to Kenya by Scottish and French missionaries, from Yemen and Reunion Island, respectively.
Today, these two varieties are responsible for most of the high-quality coffee produced in Kenya, but they are susceptible to coffee leaf rust and other diseases.
Kenya has done a great job trying to find disease resistant varieties. "Ruiru 11" was the first variety considered a success by the "Kenyan Coffee Board". Unfortunately, it has not been well received by importers and the specialty coffee industry in general, because it's considered to have a poor cup quality.
In an attempt to change the "low organoleptic reputation" of Ruiru 11, farmers are grafting it with SL28. For the bottom they use the SL 28 root which is much longer than the Ruiru root and can absorb more nutrients from the fertile volcanic soils of Kenya. For the top they use Ruiru 11, which is more resistant to coffee diseases than SL. They do this to get the best of both worlds, the cup quality of SL 28, with the strength and high productivity of Ruiru 11.