On the slopes of Mount Kenya is the Gakuyuini station. It benefits from fertile volcanic soil, favorable altitude, and also good accessibility, being only 1.5 hours from Nairobi. Gakuyuini has 674 women farmers and 879 men farmers who are actively involved in the station’s running. There are primarily three varieties grown around the station: SL 28, SL 34, and Ruiru 11.
Careful sorting of the harvested cherries is the beginning of the process. The farmers remove unripe and overripe cherries and then use a peeler to separate the skin from the flesh. This is followed by fermentation for 16-24 hours without sunlight, after which the fruit is washed. The farmers achieve washed processing by placing the cherries in water tanks for up to 18 hours. Drying takes place on African beds for 21 days.
SL 28 is a sub-variety of bourbon. Its resistance to disease and drought has made it popular with farmers. It is a fruity flavor and the full body that characterize it.
SL 34 is a variety adapted to high altitudes and heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to disease but compensates for this with exceptional cup quality. A chocolate flavor complements the mild acidity.
The Ruiru variety was developed at the Ruiru Coffee Research Station and is the result of crossing SL28 and SL34 varieties for greater resistance to fungal diseases. The flavor profile of Ruiru 11 is generally described as balanced, with mild acidity and rich notes of fruit and chocolate. It may also have a sweet, floral aroma.