Karatina AB Washed - Kenya

Karatina AB Washed - Kenya

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Region: Nyeri

Flavour notes: blackberry, oolong, pomegranate 

Variety: SL28, SL34, Batian, Ruiru 11

Altitude: 1800m

Located in the Nyeri region, southwest of Mt. Kenya, is the Karatina Cooperative and the farms of its 1,000 small-scale producers. Situated just 500 meters outside the rural center of Karatina sits the namesake station. It is the oldest coffee processing station in the region, starting out in 1957 under the then supra-Cooperative Mathira F.C.S. before splitting in 1996. It came to be one of four factories managed by the Barichu Farmers Cooperative society (which includes the Gaturiri, Karindundu, and Gatomboya cooperatives), which like it affiliates, pushes to the forefront of Kenyan specialty coffee.

This lot comprises of the SL28, SL34, Batian and the Ruiru 11 varieties of coffee. Single tree selections made at Scott Laboratories (established by the colonial British government in Kenya in 1922, it conducted agricultural research, as well as provided technical advice and training to Kenyan farmers) during the period of 1935-1939 were prefixed SL. SL28 belongs to the Bourbon genetic group, and was selected and bred for its drought resistance as well as its outstanding high cup quality. SL28 is one of the most well-known and prized coffee varieties in Eastern Africa. In the late 1930's, SL34 was selected from a lone coffee tree on the Loresho Estate in Kabete, Kenya. Research at the Scott Laboratories was frequently conducted in cooperation with local, private estate owners. The tree was labeled 'French Mission.' Over the years, the SL coffees have even spread from Kenya to other parts of Africa as well as Central and South America. 

Ruiru 11 is a Catimor hybrid that came out of a coffee berry disease epidemic in 1968 in Kenya that led to the loss of 50% of national production in Kenya. The crisis sparked action. In the 1970s, the coffee research station at Ruiru, from which Ruiru gets its name, began an intensive breeding program, looking to create varieties that were immune to coffee berry disease and that kept a high cup quality. This finally ended with the development of Ruiru 11, which was released in 1985.

Bred to be resistant to coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease, Batian was created at the Coffee Research Station (CRS; now the Coffee Research Institute, CRI) in Ruiru, Kenya and was released in Kenya in 2010. Batian is a composite variety, that is the result of mixing different pure line varieties. These varieties include: SL28, SL34, Rume Sudan, N39, K7, SL4 and the Timor Hybrid.

The Fermentation Process: Washed

After being harvested at peak ripeness, the coffee cherries are floated to remove defects and then are pulped mechanically, removing the majority of the fruit. The coffee is then placed in open-air tanks filled with water and ferments for 24 hours in the open air, gaining access to wild, naturally-occurring yeast. The coffee is then washed and then dry fermented for another 12-24 hours before being soaked in the tanks for an additional 12-18 hours. During this process, the starches break down into sugars and bring the coffee flavour alive. The coffees are finally then sun dried for 15-21 days on raised beds.