KENYA KIUNYU AA
Origin: Central Kenya
Cooperative: Karithathi FCS
Wet-mill: Kiunyu Factory
Cultivar: SL34 (99%)
Altitude: 1650 - 1850 masl
Process: Fully washed, with double fermentation and sundried in african beds
Harvest: November 2016 - January 2017
Warehouse: Only Santiago
Packaging: 30 Kg w/ GrainPro
Notes: Grapefruit, blueberries, honey, black tea
Ikawa profile: Available soon
Espresso?: Yes! And filter as well
Kiunyu Factory is located at the very east of the Kirinyaga district, on the slopes of Mt. Kenya (5199 m), and is a member of the Karithathi Farmers Cooperative Society.
It was established in the 1960s and is serving Kagumoini, Kianduma, Kiambuuku, Kiambatha, Gatura and Kiamuki villages. It has approximately 1.200 members (small scale farmers).
The area experiences moderate bimodal rainfall, and temperatures here range from 13 to 24 ºC year round. The main varieties of coffee grown here is SL34 and Ruiru 11, with SL34 accounting for 99% of all coffee production in the area. Most farmers in the area are tea growers rather than coffee.
After harvesting, coffee cherry is delivered to the factory, where it undergoes a fully washed or wet processing method. Water is pumped from the Karithathi river to reservoir tanks, for pulping and recirculation. After pulping, the coffee is dry fermented over night, before its washed, then soaked for 24 hours and spread out on raised beds for selection and drying.
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.