The SL28 coffee variety is a unique and highly regarded Arabica coffee cultivar that is known for its exceptional flavor profile. It was developed in Kenya in the 1930s by Scott Agricultural Laboratories (hence the “SL” designation) as part of a research program aimed at creating coffee varieties that could thrive in the country’s high-altitude, equatorial climate.
Here are some key characteristics and information about the SL28 coffee variety:
Origin: SL28 was developed by crossbreeding two other coffee varieties: the K7 and the Tanganyika D.R. It was created to improve disease resistance and overall coffee quality in the Kenyan coffee industry.
Geographical Adaptability: SL28 is well-suited to the high-altitude regions of Kenya and some other East African coffee-growing countries. It is particularly renowned for its performance at elevations between 1,500 and 2,100 meters above sea level.
Flavor Profile: SL28 is celebrated for its distinctive flavor profile, which often includes notes of blackcurrant, berry, and citrus. It is prized for its bright acidity, full body, and complex, wine-like taste.
Disease Resistance: While SL28 is not completely immune to coffee diseases, it does exhibit some resistance to common coffee pests and diseases, such as coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease.
Plant Characteristics: SL28 coffee trees typically produce large, bright red cherries, making them easy to identify when harvesting. The leaves of the SL28 variety are also distinctive, with serrated edges and elongated shapes.
Cultural Importance: SL28 has played a significant role in Kenya’s coffee industry and is considered one of the key factors in the country’s reputation for high-quality coffee. Many Kenyan coffee producers prioritize the cultivation of SL28 alongside other varieties like SL34 and Ruiru 11.
Varietal Purity: SL28 coffee trees are often grown in combination with other varieties, and maintaining varietal purity can be a challenge. However, efforts are made to preserve the genetic integrity of this unique cultivar.
Global Adoption: While SL28 is most closely associated with Kenya, it has also been planted in other coffee-growing regions around the world, including some parts of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. In these regions, it may produce coffee with flavor profiles that differ slightly from those grown in Kenya due to variations in climate and soil.
Overall, SL28 is highly regarded in the specialty coffee industry and is cherished for its unique flavor characteristics and adaptability to specific growing conditions. Coffee enthusiasts often seek out SL28 coffees for their exceptional taste and aroma.