New coffee: Kenya, Kirimahiga, Washed AA
Kenya Kirimahiga Washed AA
Country of origin: Kenya
Region: Central Kenya
Farm: New Kiriti – Kirimahiga Farmers co-operative society
Varieties: Ruiru 11/ SL 32 & SL 28
Roaster: Has Bean
Brewing method: Chemex
Tasting notes: blackcurrant, creamy mouth-feel, red wine acidity
This is the second Kenyan of the year from Has Bean, and its a bit more of what you would expect from a Kenyan coffee compared to the Gachami we had on last: lots of blackcurrant and red wine notes that come from the SL 28 variety.
Kirimahiga is a washing station that is based within the New Kiriti farmers coop. The coop was started in 1987 and currently has 780 members who all elect a chairman. The coop is heavily involved with the Coffee Transparency initiative which aims to treat workers and suppliers ethically and fairly, protect the environment and promote economic transparency.
The coffee features the Ruiru 11, SL 28 and SL 32 varietals. SL 28 and SL 32 were developed in the Kenyan Scott Labs in the 1930s and are characterised by a lovely blackcurrant acidity. Despite having positive flavour characteristics, SL 28 & SL 32 are very prone to Coffee Borer Disease & Coffee Leaf Rust, and Kenya has a big problem with crops being wiped out by these diseases. Ruiru 11 was developed in the 80s to cross the ‘flavour-positive’ but disease susceptible SL 28 variety with the disease resistance of the Robusta strain, while also being significantly higher yielding. The problem with higher yielding crops is that the flavour characteristics in the fruit are in effect, spread too thinly. There have been complaints from Kenyan farmers that the Ruiru 11 variety does not produce as good a flavour as the SL 28 variety, but evidently this is down to the crops not being pruned aggressively enough. The more the plant is pruned, the less fruit is produced and the more flavour there is in the fruit.
Ruiru 11 has also been developed to grow in a much higher density of plants. The variety can be planted at a density of 2500-3000 trees per hector, whereas traditional varieties like SL 28 can only be planted at 1500 trees per hector.