Kenyan Coffee

Kenyan Coffee

Experience the unique flavor of Kenyan coffee beans, from delicious and fruity notes to heavy cocoa-like tones. With a combination of bold, smooth tastes and various flavors, Kenyan coffee is among the world’s most sought-after and beloved coffees.

Grown in the high altitudes of the African continent, these beans are some of the finest Arabica beans available.

Keep reading to discover what makes Kenyan coffee unique and why it’s worth seeking.

What is Kenyan Coffee?

Kenyan coffee is a unique type of Arabica bean. It has a distinctive flavor profile that ranges from light and fruity to full-bodied and earthy, depending on the bean type.

It is often described as having a bright acidity, a pleasant aroma, and a complex flavor profile. The subtle notes of dark chocolate, currant, nut, and citrus are known to be particularly prominent in Kenyan coffee. Also, the aroma of Kenyan coffee tends to be quite intense and sweet.

The unique flavor of Kenyan coffee is often attributed to two main factors: the terroir and the processing technique used on the beans. The terroir refers to the climate, soil, and other environmental factors that affect how coffee grows and tastes.

History of Kenyan Coffee

Kenyan coffee has a long and rich history, dating back to the late 1800s. During this period, European missionaries began introducing coffee plants to the country.

The first commercial coffee plantations were established in the early 1900s and by 1913. Kenya had become one of the leading exporters of Arabica coffee. The industry continued to grow, and by the 1960s, Kenya had become one of the world’s largest producers of coffee.

Since 1971, Kenyan coffee operations have been under the control of the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK), the official body responsible for the industry. The CBK works to ensure the quality of Kenyan coffee and promote sustainable growing practices.

The production of Kenyan coffee has continued to grow over the years, and it is now the fifth-largest producer in Africa. Most coffee grown in Kenya is exported to Europe, North America, and Asia.

The Current State Of The Kenyan Coffee Industry

Kenya produces an average of 800 thousand bags of coffee annually. The main types of coffee grown in the country are Arabica and Robusta, with Arabica accounting for around 70 percent of total production. 

The quality of Kenyan coffee has been consistently praised over the years, despite challenges in the industry. The country’s coffee sector faces declining yields due to climate change, soil degradation, and competition from cheaper coffee produced in other countries.

In response, the CBK is focusing on improving the industry by promoting sustainable farming practices and introducing new varieties of coffee plants with higher yields.

Overall, Kenyan coffee is still highly regarded and sought after due to its unique flavor and rich history. The country’s coffee sector has succeeded despite facing several challenges, and with suitable investments and initiatives, the industry has a bright future ahead.

The projections for the Kenyan coffee industry remain positive as more people discover the unique flavor of this beloved African bean. Also, Kenyan farmers and the CBK are committed to ensuring the sustainability of their coffee production so that future generations can enjoy this special brew.

Growing Conditions for the Beans

Coffee plants are grown in many parts of Kenya, but most beans come from a few key regions. Coffee is primarily cultivated at high altitudes, with the best beans being grown at elevations of 1,500-2,000 meters.

These higher elevations provide ideal growing conditions for the beans, allowing them to thrive in a cool and humid climate. The soil is also full of nutrients that help the plants produce high-quality beans.

Most farmers in Kenya practice sustainable farming techniques, such as crop rotation and organic fertilizers. The farming method helps to ensure that the beans are grown in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.

The government and industry bodies offer training and support to farmers, so they can continue to produce the best quality beans possible. From fertilizer incentives to crop diversification, the Kenyan coffee industry is actively trying to improve its operations and ensure quality remains at the forefront.

Harvesting Conditions For the Beans

The coffee plants in Kenya are usually harvested manually, which helps ensure that the beans retain their flavor and texture. The beans are then sun-dried and hulled to remove the outer layer.

Most farmers use the “two-stage” method to dry the beans in the sun and then in the shade. The process helps to preserve the unique flavor of Kenyan coffee beans.

The beans are then sorted by hand to remove any defective or damaged ones. Once the sorting process is complete, the beans are ready for roasting.

The process ensures that only the best quality beans reach customers’ cups and helps preserve Kenyan coffee’s unique flavor and aroma.

Processing Conditions For the Beans

The beans are then sent to the processing plant, where they are roasted, ground, and packed for export. The process is highly regulated by the government and industry bodies, so Kenyan coffee retains its premium quality.

The processing uses the wet milling method, which involves pulping the beans to remove the outer layer. The pulp is then separated from the bean and processed into a syrup, later used for coffee-making. The beans are then dried and sorted once more before they are roasted, ground, and packaged for sale.

The wet milling method helps preserve Kenyan coffee beans’ unique flavor and ensures that only the best quality products reach consumers.

How is Kenyan Coffee Graded?

Coffee beans from Kenya are graded according to international standards. The grade is determined by the size, shape, and color of the beans, as well as their level of acidity and aroma.

The grading system is based on a 100-point scale, divided into two categories – international and special grades.

The international grades range from 1 to 6, with grade 1 being the highest quality. Grade 2 is still considered high quality but slightly lower in terms of aroma and acidity. Grade 3-6 are considered to be average-quality beans. These beans are still considered to be of good quality, and they make up part of Kenya’s coffee exports.

Special grades are also graded according to their size and shape. The AA grade is the highest quality, meaning the beans are uniform in size and color with a pleasant aroma. The AB grade is slightly lower in quality but still produces a cup of coffee with excellent flavor and aroma.

The grading system ensures only the best coffee reaches consumers’ cups. It also helps to guarantee fairness in pricing since high-grade beans are more expensive than lower-grade ones.

Overall, the grading system helps protect Kenyan coffee’s reputation and ensure it remains one of the world’s most sought-after coffees. It also helps to ensure that only the best beans are exported and consumed by customers.

How to Roast Kenyan Coffee? 

When it comes to roasting Kenyan coffee beans, the key is to bring out the full flavor and aroma of the beans while maintaining their natural characteristics. To do this, it’s essential to use the right roasting profile and temperature.

Depending on the type of bean, different profiles and temperatures can be used to achieve the desired results. Light roasts are typically done at lower temperatures, while dark roasts are roasted at higher temperatures.

When roasting Kenyan beans, it’s essential to pay attention to the color of the beans as they are being roasted and to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. This will ensure the beans are perfectly roasted and not burnt or over-roasted.

It’s also essential to use the right equipment when roasting Kenyan coffee, as this can significantly impact the flavor and aroma of the beans. For best results, it’s recommended to use a drum roaster or a convection oven. The drum roaster is best for small batches, while the convection oven can handle larger batches.

Once the beans have been roasted to perfection, it’s important to cool them quickly. Cooling can stop roasting and ensure the beans retain their flavor and aroma.

Tasting Notes for the Coffee

Kenyan coffee is known for its rich, complex flavor and vibrant acidity. The beans are usually a deep brown color with notes of dark chocolate and nuts. They have a medium body with bright citrus, berries, and spices flavors.

The coffee has a sweet aroma and a smooth, creamy finish when brewed correctly. It’s known for its subtle sweetness and low acidity, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a lighter flavor.

When tasting Kenyan coffee, it’s essential to look for notes of dark chocolate, nuts, and berries. The flavors should be balanced and not overpowering. The finish should also be smooth and creamy, with no bitterness or acidity.

Most Kenyan coffees are best enjoyed black, as the flavor profile can be fully appreciated without any additions. However, adding a bit of sugar or cream can help to bring out the flavors even more.

Overall, Kenyan coffee is a great choice for those looking for a flavorful and aromatic cup of joe. It has a unique flavor profile that makes it stand out from other coffees, and its subtle sweetness and low acidity make it an ideal choice for those who prefer a lighter flavor. It’s sure to please even the most discerning coffee connoisseurs.


Kenya produces a range of different coffee varietals, each with its unique flavor characteristics. The two most popular varieties are SL28 and SL34, native to the region.

SL28 is known for its intense fruity flavor and whole body, while SL34 is known for its bright acidity and notes of citrus and spice. Other varietals include Ruiru 11, Batian, and the recently introduced K7. These coffees have a milder flavor and lighter body than the SL varieties.

Other varietals include the famous AA grade, known for its bold flavor and distinctive aroma. The type of coffee varietal used can have a significant impact on the flavor of the final product.

When choosing the right Kenyan coffee varietal, it pays to experiment and find the one that best suits your taste. With so many varieties, finding one that will please your taste buds and provide a unique cup of coffee is easy.


Kenyan coffee is known for its unique flavor and vibrant acidity. It’s an ideal choice for those looking for a flavorful cup of joe, and its subtle sweetness and low acidity make it an excellent choice for those who prefer a lighter flavor.

With the right roasting profile and the perfect varietal, creating a cup of Kenyan coffee will satisfy even the most discerning palates. Kenyan coffee is sure to please, whether it’s enjoyed black or with a bit of cream and sugar.

So, next time you’re in the mood for a cup of coffee, why not try Kenyan coffee? Visit our website for more information about Kenyan coffee and other delicious varieties!

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