top of page

Tasting Notes:   Tropical, Nectarine, Vanilla, Brown sugar

Aroma:               Vanilla, Tropical fruit, Stone fruit, Sugar

Cupping:           Floral, Sweet Tropical, Nectarine, Vanilla, Sweet and complex


Country: Kenya

Produced by: Boyce Harris

Region: Thika

Altitude: 1525

Variety: SL-34, SL-28

Processing: Washed

Q score: 87


Exploring popular Kenyan coffee varieties: SL-28 & SL-34

  • SL varieties when compared to others, they deliver a consistently good cup profile, have a superior cup quality than new varieties like Batian and Ruiru 11. They have a really complex cup characteristic.

  • Kenyan coffee has a bright acidity, a rich, full body, and a distinctive flavour in the cup. Some of the most popular varieties these day are K7, Blue Mountain, Batian, Ruiru 11, and the SL series.
  • However, we source your two of the most popular are SL-28 and SL-34.
  • SL stands for Scott Laboratories, which is the name of the Kenyan research centre that first developed these varieties in the 1930s. While World Coffee Research recognises three “official” SL varieties (and there are supposedly many more), SL-28 and SL-34 are the most popular in specialty coffee. 



Harvesting coffee is all done carefully and deliberately by hand, selecting only the ripe, red cherries and taking care not to damage any new growth. We do our own processing on the farms with the majority of our coffee beans going through ‘wet processing’. From the farms the dry, ‘parchment coffee’ is transported to a coffee mill for hulling, polishing, grading and bagging for auction.



  • The main variety of Arabica coffee planted on Chania Estate was one of the original varieties reintroduced to East Africa called French Mission. We have a total of 180 acres of coffee on Chania of which 95 are French Mission. The remainder consists of Ruiru 11 (CBD resistant), K7 (Rust resistant), SL28 (susceptible to disease but recognised for cup quality), SL 34 and the new variety Batian.
  • Oreti is a small Estate by today’s standards, at only 90 acres. Here, a less commonly known variety called SL 34 is grown alongside SL 28. Although highly susceptible to Coffee Berry Disease, Peter Harries decided to keep the 43 acres of SL 34 he planted in 1961. In his opinion the quality of coffee this variety produced was uniquely superior to SL 28, primarily due to the fact that its rounder bean allowed a more even roast and therefore a better ‘cup’.
  • The areas of planted coffee are generally referred to as blocks. All our blocks are named after events, things or people in the area at the time they were planted. For example; one block of French Mission coffee is called ‘Kamonde’ by the farm workers because the original settler farmer who planted the coffee there pre- 1926 had very few teeth and in the local Kikuyu language, ‘Kamonde’ means toothless one!
  • Another block of coffee is called ‘Mukuyu’, named after the tree that was standing there before the coffee was planted, and still stands there today.
  • The SL 24 coffee at Oreti is mainly in the block referred to as ‘Muhuti’. This is the Kikuyu name for a particular species of tree found growing next to the coffee along the steep valley where the Chania River flows. This tree is more commonly known as the ‘Red Hot Poker Tree’ (Erythrina Abyssinica) whose bright red spiky flowers stand out almost as vividly as the Flame Tree for which Thika was made famous by Elspeth Huxley in her book ‘The Flame Trees of Thika’



  • Our constant endeavour is to produce a top grade Arabica coffee; better beans with improved flavour, which when roasted will, like a good wine, have a definitive, richer, fuller flavour, a medium body and medium acidity.
  • Debes of freshly picked coffee are placed at the hopper and are flushed into the pulper. The pulper discs take off the outer skin and the cherry is carried by water to soak in tanks.We do our own processing on the farms with the majority of our coffee beans going through ‘wet processing’. From the farms the dry, ‘parchment coffee’ is transported to a coffee mill for hulling, polishing, grading and bagging for auction.
  • Sometimes our buyers want “Naturals”. Unlike the regular processing of coffee where outer layers are removed, these beans have been washed in their skins and are being transferred to ‘beds’ for sun drying.
  • Our coffee goes to a certified mill nearby for hulling, polishing and grading. The mill is owned and operated by Kofinaf, formerly Socfinaf, Kenya Ltd., the country’s largest coffee producer.
  • Recently the company has begun marketing its coffee through Sustainable Management Services Ltd., the Kenyan arm of ECOM. This business has good relations in the industry and secure knowledge of coffee marketing.

SL 28 & 34 Boyce Harris Oreti Estate -Kenya AB

    bottom of page