Bright and juicy, the Kenya Rutuma impresses with its black currant flavor, caramelized sweetness and rich chocolate base. It renders a complex, refined cup with layered notes of fresh fruit. The Rutuma enjoys an esteemed lineage since it is grown from common Kenya cultivars that include SL-28 and SL-34, produced by Scott Laboratories in Kenya in the 1930s. Regarded as the best of the SLs in terms of quality, both varieties are derived from Bourbon cultivars--the "pinot noir" of coffee.
Processed at the Gathanji Factory, a cooperative-owned washing station operating under the umbrella of the New Gatanga union, this coffee benefits greatly from the country's quality-focused attention to coffee production and processing driven by an auction system that ensures top dollar to growers who bring the most breathtaking coffees to market. It follows then that Kenya is recognized as one of the premier coffee growing countries in the world. The special processing that most Kenyan coffees undergo is part of what contributes to it stellar reputation and particular flavor profile.
Farmers bring their harvested cherries to the factory where they are weighed and placed into the hopper with the rest of that day's collection. The cherries are first sorted to discard inferior cherries and then de-pulped to remove the fruit and skin from the bean. Factories ferment every grade of parchment coffee dry in its mucilage for 24-48 hours, then move the coffee through water channels to separate washing tanks where the softened mucilage is sloughed off. The coffee moves through sorting and density channels that separate the lots before they are taken to raised beds to dry to an 11.5-12 percent moisture content.
Despite sharing a border with Ethiopia, the "birthplace of coffee," Kenya was one of the last countries planted in coffee, nearly 300 years after the plant was first cultivated for profit. In fact, the varieties that were brought to Kenya had circumnavigated the globe before they found their way back to the African continent, mutating in various climates to create a profile that, once adapted to the rich volcanic soil around Mt. Kenya, resulted in the stunning profiles this country has to offer.
Grower: Smallholder farmers organized around Rutuma FCS's Ndurutu Factory
Variety: Batian, Ruiru 11, SL28, SL34
Region: Thika and surrounding countryside, Kiambu, Kenya
Harvest: October - December
Altitude: 1520 - 2200 masl
Soil: Volcanic loam
Process: Fully washed after pulping, fermenting, then soaked in clean water prior to drying on raised beds