The Karatina factory sits in east Nyeri county, named after the surrounding Karatina town. It's another member of the Barichu Farmer's Cooperative Society ("FCS"), where we've purchased many lots in the past - Gatomboya, Gaturiri, etc - whose name to us is synonymous with quality and consistency. The society has topped 1000 members, all of whom grow varietals SL-28, SL-34, and Ruiri-11. These individual factories are responsible for wet milling - pulping, fermenting, washing, and raised bed drying. Sorting through cherry first, as well as sorting measures throughout the washing, drying, and dry-milling phases of processing, equates to a clarity in the cup rarely rivaled. The PB outturn from Karatina cupped with exceptional sweetness, and with fruit flavors equally sweet and clean.
There's so much "classic" Kenya in Karatina's profile - pungent citrus, fruit punch, and bracing tea - that follows through from beginning to end. The dry fragrance has a nice combination of peach and plum notes, jammy, or even like baked stone fruits. Adding hot water brings up raisin and prune smells, with cinnamon stick, and a bit of candied citrus peel (especially pronounced on the break). Hot, the cup has a herb tea/orange oil flavor (every have Good Earth tea?), with rindy citrus toward the end. It's a bracing cup, hot and cool, with black tea and citric brightness as well as top notes that turn floral in the cooling cup. The profile opens up a bit, making way for jam flavors like plum, raspberry, and orange marmalade. Subtle spice notes linger, like cinnamon bark and very slight cardamom spice. At Full City fruit pungency builds and flavors of pomegranate and papaya mingle with notes of burned sugar. This one screams Kenya, and should be reserved for those who embrace high highs and fruited complexity.