Kenya is reputable for producing some of the highest quality and best tasting coffee in the world today. Although the country does grow both Arabica and Robusta, Arabica accounts for more than 99% of its total coffee production and has therefore resulted in high demand from across the globe. It is estimated that there are 32 provinces and 6 million Kenyans who are involved the country’s coffee production.
Despite being a neighbour to Ethiopia, coffee was only first introduced to Kenya in 1893 by Brazillian missionaries who imported the Bourbon coffee varietal. It was first grown at Bura in Taita Hills and subsequently in Kibwezi and Kikuyu. Even though the locals were allowed to grow their own crops (limited amount) after British colonialism in the 1960s, all coffee had to be centrally processed and marketed. The best coffee would be exported while leaving only the poorest quality for the locals. Hence, many generations of Kenyans did not even know that they produced some of the world’s best coffee.
The majority of Kenya’s coffee is grown on deep volcanic soils with an elevation ranging from 1,400 to 2,000 meters above sea level (MASL). The temperatures range between 15 and 24 degrees celsius. Kenya has two harvest seasons: April to June and October to December. Most of Kenya’s coffee are wet-processed while only about 10% are dry-processed. High-quality Kenyan coffee is clean and crisp, well balanced in taste, acidity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. Certain notes include lemony citrus, wine, blackberry tones.
- Mount Kenya regions: Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Thika, and Kiambu - Rift Valley: Nandi Hills - Western Kenya regions: Bungoma and Mt Elgon - Eastern regions: Embu, Meru, and Machakos