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PROCESS Fully Washed
PRODUCER Kenya Coffee Research Institute (CRI)
REGION Juja, Kiambu County
VARIETY SL28, SL34, & Ruiru 11; some Batian
ALTITUDE 1600 meters
TASTES LIKE Grapefruit with a caramel body; juicy
SIZE 12 ounces whole bean

We cannot guarantee requests for ground coffee.

This exceptional AA lot was produced at Azania Farm, owned and operated by Kenya’s Coffee Research Institute, one of the country’s primary agricultural bodies. CRI/KALRO (Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation) acquired the Azania farm in 1977 and has operated it since that time, always with the aim of improving Kenya’s coffee production.

As one of the country’s key colonial crops, it is perhaps not surprising that investment in coffee research in Kenya dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1908, the British colonial government appointed the country’s first Coffee Entomologist, charging them with expanding and improving production. In the early years coffee research was undertaken at the Scotts Laboratories (currently the National Agricultural Laboratories) in the outskirts of Nairobi. In the years between 1934 and 1963, Scotts Laboratories developed multiple cultivars under contract, including various SL varieties, mostly based on Moka and Bourbon types brought by the Scotch and French missions to Kenya. Some of the more successful SL (Scott Labs...get it?) varieties are still widely grown in Kenya today, including the ubiquitous SL 28 and SL 34.

Needless to say, all agricultural activities executed on the farms – from pruning to fertilisation – are absolutely ‘best practice’ and are those that are recommended to small and medium producers around the country. The same goes for processing. During the harvest, the farm brings in hundreds of people from surrounding areas to help with picking. Transport and training are provided. Only the ripest cherries are picked at each pass. These are delivered on the same day to the ‘factory’ (as Kenyan washing stations/wet mills are called), meticulously sorted to remove any damaged or underripe cherries, and pulped on the farms’ 4 disk pulper. The pulped coffee is then fermented for around 12 hours before being fully washed in clean water to remove all the remaining mucilage.

CRI is funded in part through a levy on coffee sales, generated through sales of lots such as this one. However, in most years, funds from the levy do not fully cover the Institute’s budget. Towards overcoming this challenge, the Foundation has stepped up efforts to raise funds from internal commercial activities, services, external grants and collaborative projects. They make certified seed and seedlings available at low costs to cooperatives and individual grower, as well, which is another primary source of income.