Kiamabara Top-AA Grade – Kenya
They started early in Kenya to experiment with varietals. Around 1910 they experimented with the Tanzanian (Tanganyika) varietals and mixed them with varietals from Mysore in India. This hybrid is now known as Kent.
In the 1920s they used the French Mission as a base to create something called “Kenyas Selected”.
In 1934 they started to develop new varietals in the Scot Laboratories. They discovered a variety in the Mondul area in Tanzania that had good resistance against drought and pests. They also gathered trees of the original French Mission and other varietals that seemed to perform well. About 42 different trees of the French Mission and different Mocha varieties were selected in the 1930s based on their yield, quality and resistance to pests, drought and diseases. The new varietals from the Scot Laboratories was prefixed as SL. They started with SL 1 created from the “Kenya Selected” and developed a lot of different SL’s continued with SL 2 , 3, 4 and so on, all created from different varietals based on French Mission, Bourbon and Mocha (Typica). Finally they ended up with the SL 28 and SL 34 that are still widely used.
SL 28 was selected fro a single tree from a Tanzanian drought resistance variety, and have some Ethiopian influence as well as traits from a tree from Sudan’s Boma plateau.
It has a broad copper tip leaf, bold beans, but are pretty low yielding. It’s known for delicate and complex flavor attributes.
SL 34 came from a single selection of French Mission at an Estate in Nairobi. It’s similar to the old “Kenya Selected” in appearance. It has been highly appreciated for it’s high yield and shows good resistance to droughts.
K7, another well-known variety was also selected from the French Mission, and are known for great immunity towards diseases. Still, not as much appreciated for cup quality as the SL’s.
Ruiru11 was created in the 1980’s. The goal was to create a high yield plant resistant to leaf rust and CBD (coffee berry disease). They mixed “Hibrido de Timor” (a Robusta/Arabica hybrid) with “Rume Sudan” from the Boma plateau as well as with SL 28 and SL 34 for improved cup quality.
Blue Mountain was brought in from Jamaica and planted in western Kenya around 1913. It hasn’t been too successful in Kenya, but you can still find it in the Western parts.
Batian is a new high yielding disease resistant variety that was released by the Coffee Research Foundation in Kenya in 2010. It’s supposed to improve cup qualities compared to Ruiru 11, and should be more equal to the SL 28. It’s back crossed from SL 28 and SL 34 and include SL4, N39, N30, Hibrido de Timor, Rume Sudan, and K7.