Cupping Notes: Pomegranate, berries, pineapple, chocolate
About This Coffee
This naturally processed, single varietal SL34 lot is from from Kamundu Estate in Kiambu, Kenya. Kamundu is a 155ha coffee farm first established by British colonists but is now one of 6 estates owned and operated by Sasini, a publicly listed company with a majority Kenyan ownership.
Sasini’s estates have long placed an emphasis on equity and community. In the case of the estates’ workers this involves the provision of living quarters, early child education, union membership and guaranteed payment above minimum wage. They have also been able to invest further in the local primary school Njenga Karume. This has principally been through the building of a new computer lab to equip students with the IT skillset to maximise their opportunities in an increasingly digital world.
Country of Origin: Kenya
Producer Type: Single Estate
Farm Name: Kamundu Estate
Processing: Natural/Dry Processed
Processing Description: Sun-dried on raised beds
Growing Altitude: 1950 MASL
Plant Species: Arabica
Soil: Red Volcanic
History of Coffee in Kenya
It seems likely that coffee grew wild within the region that would become Kenya, buried deep inside impenetrable forests, or perhaps hiding in plain site; but it wasn’t until 1895 that missionaries both protestant and catholic attempted to grow coffee for commercial purposes. The 100 seeds from Reunion Island that would serve as progenitors to the Kenyan coffee industry arrived on a train, carried by priests belonging to an order known as “Holy Ghost Fathers.” On August 12th, 1899, they arrived at the spot that would quickly become the country’s capital city. One of the early protestant medical missionaries was Dr. Henry Scott. After his death in 1911, a new hospital complex was named after Dr. Scott and when the department of agriculture took over the complex in 1923 they kept the name: Scott Agricultural Laboratories, or “Scott Labs.” This is the origin of the “SL” in SL28 and other coffee varieties selected at the lab.
Growing Coffee in Kenya
Coffee is grown through the highland regions of Kenya, including Kisii, Nyanza, and Bungoma in the west; Nakuru and Kericho in the Great Rift Valley; Machakos, Embu, and Meru to the east of Mt. Kenya; and the Taita hills near the coast. The largest and oldest coffee growing areas are the central highlands, particularly Nyeri, sandwiched between the foothills of Mt Kenya to the east and the Aberdare mountain range to the west. Most coffee in Kenya is grown between 4,500 and 6,500 feet. Nearly all of Kenya’s 700,000 coffee producers are small land holders belonging to cooperatives. Most common varieties in Kenya are Ruiru 11, SL28, SL34, and K7. SL34 and K7 were developed from heirloom bourbon known as “French Mission,” which was the primary variety grown prior to the 1930’s that can still be found today, as can Blue Mountain on some farms. Kenyan coffees are graded by screen size and while there are several grades, specialty coffee is AA, AB, or PB (peaberry), used in combination with quality grade FAQ or FAQ Plus (Fair Average Quality).
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