Our lot is produced by “Kabare Farmers Cooperative Society”. The cooperative has 11 washing stations (known in Kenya as “factories”) and about 12,300 members (small farmers). This cooperative is located in the town of the same name “Kabare”, district of “Kirinyaga”, in the province of Central Kenya. More specifically, it is located on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya, which is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. Nyeri and Kirinyaga are probably the most famous growing areas throughout Kenya. Both benefit from red clay soils rich in aluminum and iron, heights of between 1,300 and 2,300 masl and two yearly very well marked rainy seasons; all of this contributes to have in this small area, some of the best coffees 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.
Kenya has done a huge job trying to find rust 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 “Ruiru 11”, was introduced. We will still have to wait a few more years to know its full potential in the cup and productivity.