Batian (released in late 2010) is named after the highest peak on Mt. Kenya.
In Kenya, breeding work specifically for disease resistance in coffee started in 1971, after the 1960s outbreak of Coffee Berry Disease and coffee leaf rust. The main breeding goal since has been to develop cultivars that combine resistance to diseases with improved yields and cup quality. In 1985, the first disease resistant hybrid cultivar, Ruiru 11, was released. Further research and development by the Kenya Coffee Research Institute (CRI) has culminated in the release of Batian.
Batian is slowly becoming more widespread across Kenya due to its resistance to Coffee Berry Disease and Coffee Leaf Rust and its good cup quality (the variety has been backcrossed with SL28 and SL34). Trees come into production in the second year, presenting additional benefit to producers. As of 2016/17 harvest season, most small farmers only have a couple of plants coming into production, but with the CRI heavily promoting the seeds and cooperatives showing significant uptake, it is likely that Batian will soon be ubiquitous in Kenya. One challenge is the plant’s significant vegetative growth, which requires specific pruning methods and frequent handling to keep it at the peak of production. Training will be, thus, a significant component of the plant’s success.