Altitude – 1,500 meters – grown on highland slopes
Plant varietal – SL28, SL34, & Riuru 11
Soil Type – Volcanic red soils
Shaded – Coffee shaded under Gravillea, Macadamia and Eucalyptus trees
One of the first coffee farms established in eastern Africa, Nyeri Hill Estate planted its first coffee seedling in 1914. Located two kilometers northwest of the town of Nyeri, along the Nyeri-Ihururu road, this expansive estate stretches along the slopes of the region’s central highlands.
Nyeri Hill includes 1,415 total hectares, 344 of which are devoted to coffee cultivation. Here, 300 total employees harvest three main varietals: SL28, SL34 and Riuru 11. According to World Coffee Research, the SL28 varietal tends to be drought-tolerant and high potential for cup quality. SL28 and SL34 are unique in that they were both selected from single trees in Kenya, but these varieties are also susceptible to common coffee diseases. In contrast, Riuru 11, which makes up over 18 percent of the estate’s total production, is a varietal known for its resistance to coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease. As World Coffee Research explains, this dwarf hybrid varietal “owes its existence to a coffee berry disease (CBD) epidemic in 1968 that lead to the loss of 50% of Kenya’s production.” While each varietal’s susceptibility to disease may vary, the potential for excellence in cup quality remains constant.
Nyeri Hill is a unique coffee estate with equally distinct offerings. Here, management focuses on cultivating coffees that shine while also prioritizing the community’s long-term sustainability, both from environmental and social perspectives. The organization allocates part of its profits to academic development (with Nyeri High School), professional growth (with Kamwenja Teachers College) and community healthcare (with Mathari Mission Hospital). Along with these social commitments, the leaders at Nyeri Hill focus on reforestation in 250 hectares of the estate, preservation of natural vegetation to encourage biodiversity, and soil retention through solutions like Bermuda Grass cultivation. By approaching their role in the coffee industry holistically, Nyeri Hill Estate strikes a key balance between producing high-quality coffees and providing a high quality of life for their employees and partners.