KENYA KIMATHI AB
Origin: Central Kenya
Cooperative: Gititu FCS
Wet-mill: Kimathi Factory
Cultivars: SL28, SL34 & Ruiru11 (<5%)
Altitude: 1800 – 1950 masl
Process: Fully washed, with double fermentation and sundried in african beds
Harvest: November 2016 - January 2017
Delivery: Barcelona & Santiago
Packaging: 60 Kg w/ GrainPro
Notes: Plum, melon, honey, blackcurrant
Ikawa profile: Available soon
Espresso?: Yes! And filter as well
Kimathi Factory is located in the Central Highlands of Kenya, only 30 km north of Nairobi within the Kiambu district. It is a member of the Gititu Farmers Cooperative Society.
Farmers in Kimathi belong to the Kikuyu tribe, probably the biggest tribe of Kenya. The Coop has 5171 active members and the other wet mills of the Coop are: Gititu, Karweti, Ikunu Kiaria, Mutuya, Ngochi and Ngemwa.
The area enjoys a cool climate with temperatures ranging between 12 and 19°C. The rainfall average for the county is 1000 mm each year. The cool climate and the volcanic soil make the area conductive for coffee farming with big yields. June and July rank as the coldest months while January-March and September-October are the hottest months.
Kiambu only, accounts for more than 30% of the total coffee production of Kenya. There are approximately 51.000 active grower members in 22 coops. The altitude range of the cultivated areas of Kiambu is the second highest in the country after Nyeri, and it goes from 1520 to 2200 masl.
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.