Kenyan Coffee Beans: All the Information You Need

Jon Aldous 기자 승인 2023.09.20 11:49 의견 0

Coffee snobs will direct you to Kenya if you're looking for a region that can consistently produce top-tier, gourmet coffee. The Kenyan coffee beans include a wide range of flavors and nuances, making it a famous coffee location for those with an advanced palate.

Here is a guide to all you need to know about Kenyan coffee, along with several suggested brands you can get from right away, if you're interested in learning more about these well-known coffee beans. Let's get to learning about Kenyan coffee.

Kenyan coffee, grown in the mountainside regions of Kenya, particularly in areas with elevations ranging from 1,700 to 1,800 meters (approximately 5,800 ft), is produced by coffee farms known as fincas. The coffee beans are typically harvested and processed between November and December, with a meticulous process that includes thorough washing and sun-drying on raised beds to create the distinct flavors of Kenyan coffee.

In general, Kenyan coffee is renowned for its rich and luxurious body, often featuring notes of bergamot, berries, and lemongrass. It is characterized by a bright and pleasantly fresh aroma. For those seeking the finest Kenyan coffee beans, regions like Nyeri and Nyeri Ichamara are particularly noteworthy.

Nyeri Region, often referred to as the "Heart of Black Gold Coffee," produces beans with an intense flavor that develops gradually as they mature. These beans have a well-balanced taste profile with a noticeable acidity and crisp, fruity undertones. They thrive in the highland fincas situated between the western slopes of Mt. Kenya and the eastern base of the Aberdare Range. The unique combination of young volcanic soil and local weather conditions contributes to the distinctive flavors of coffee beans from this region.

On the other hand, Nyeri Ichamara coffee offers a vibrant, complex, and sweet-toned experience. It is known for its wet-processed method, resulting in a balanced body and a floral fragrance. The coffee from this region often exhibits hints of black currant or tart citrus, providing a tropical and pleasant taste. Additionally, these beans are characterized by lower acidity.

Coffee was introduced to Kenya by missionaries from Reunion Island during the British colonial period in 1893. When the British colonized Kenya in 1895, they took control of coffee cultivation and management. During this time, Kenya became a leading exporter of gourmet coffee worldwide.

Ownership of coffee production and processing by Kenyan farmers only began in 1960, although government-imposed restrictions remained in place. Substantial changes occurred when Kenyans initiated bold reforms that allowed them greater freedom in producing and manufacturing coffee.

Today, the Kenya Coffee Producers Association plays a key role in regulating the coffee industry, aiming to protect and enhance the socio-economic well-being of coffee farmers.

What Does Kenya AA Mean? The term "Kenya AA" often confuses coffee enthusiasts, as it is not a variety, species, or region but a grading standard for top-quality Kenyan coffee beans. When a coffee is labeled "Kenya AA," it signifies that the beans belong to the highest tier in the Kenyan coffee grading system. Kenya AA beans are typically larger, containing a significant amount of flavorful oils and nuances. Grading occurs after milling.

Comparing this to Hawaii's 100% Kona coffee, both are highly regarded within their regions and undergo rigorous evaluation to ensure quality. However, the grading process for Kenyan coffee differs, with beans being graded while still green. Kenyan coffee farmers use physical parameters, believing that larger beans contain more oils. The grading system includes:

AA – Screen 18

AB – Screen 16

C – Screen 15/10 (also known as T-grade)

PB – Peaberry Screen 12

E – Elephants Screen 20 (from coffee cherries with two seeds joined together)

After grading, both AA and AB beans, as well as C-grade beans, undergo further density assessment on gravity tables.

Kenyan Coffee History & Politics: A Detailed Overview Since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1963, Kenya has faced periods of political and socio-economic instability. While the country experiences slow and steady growth, citizens have raised concerns about issues hindering development, including political instability and aging infrastructure, especially in transportation.

Coffee is considered Kenya's primary cash crop, cultivated by both small and large-scale plantations, primarily Arabica varieties. Common Kenyan coffee varietals include SL34, SL28, Ruiru 11, K7, and Batian.

Before the end of colonial rule, Kenya's coffee industry was organized with a government-run auction system established after the 1933 Coffee Act. This system allowed the government to create a pricing hierarchy based on quality, with higher quality coffee fetching higher prices.

In late 2006, new legislation was enacted to enable direct negotiations between producers and buyers, along with licenses for 30 independent marketing agents to sell coffee beans directly to foreign buyers, bypassing the auction system. Agents must meet specific criteria, including providing a bank guarantee for fair farmer payments.

Facts about Kenyan coffee
To familiarize you with Kenya's coffee culture, consider these basic facts about Kenyan coffee:

All Kenyan coffee is grown in volcanically rich hills.
You must take part in a coffee auction hosted at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange in order to purchase Kenyan green coffee.
Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang' a Meru & Kiambu, and Marsabit are Kenya's principal coffee-growing regions.
Kenya was ranked as the 17th largest exporter of coffee worldwide.
In order to remedy the shortage of coffee expertise being passed down from generation to generation, the Kenyan government invests in coffee education.
The Dedan Kimathi University of Technology provides certificate and diploma programs in quality management and coffee technology, as well as a certification program in cupping.

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