Kenyan coffees are extremely aromatic, highly acidic, and brimming with fruity flavors, making them some of the most sought-after coffees. These flavors are uniquely Kenyan. Although their Ethiopian neighbors also produce some of the greatest coffees on the planet, a comparison of the two will show the ones from Kenyan are brighter and more acidic than their Ethiopian counter parts. Although both countries produce great coffee, their intro into the coffee world couldn’t be more different.
Although coffee is indigenous to nearby Ethiopia, the same is not true for Kenya. Some sources state coffee was introduced in the late 1800’s by French Holy Ghost Fathers. This group was a Roman Catholic society of men who supposedly used farms in Kenya to grow coffee. Another source says the British introduced it around 1900 when settlers moved to Nairobi. Regardless of who brought the plants to Kenya, the native Kenyans were quickly dominated and hardly given the respect they were due in their own country.
The British quickly took control of the country who became rich by farming coffee and using the Kenyans for cheap labor. On top of this, they were not allowed to plant or grow coffees on their own farms until about 1960. Even then, they were restricted on how many plants they could have and were not permitted to use the beans as a beverage. Fortunately, things have changed.
In the early days, coffee was mainly farmed on large coffee plantations owned by the British. Although some coffee plantations still exist, today most of the farms are owned by small-scale holders. Millions of Kenyans depend on the coffee industry for their livelihoods, so they place high importance on producing a quality product.
High Quality Beans
Kenya’s economy depends on agriculture with coffee being one of their major exports. The Kenyans focus on providing a superior product by growing high-quality coffee beans. Coffee from Kenya is known for being consistently high-quality, which is a distinction they have worked hard for.
They achieved this reputation as a result of their government-run system which rewards the farmers for producing better quality coffee. Samples for all coffees being offered must be submitted for quality analysis to the Central Sample Room, managed by the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and the Coffee Directorate. Over time, this focus on quality has led to steady improvements and quality consistency.
Creating the Kenyan Flavor
Kenya shines in producing arabica coffee beans. The environment couldn’t be more perfect with its rich volcanic soil, high elevations, moderate temperatures and well-distributed rainfall. It all combines to create the perfect growing environment for coffee plants. Each one of these characteristics affects the plant to create the acidic, aromatic, fruity coffee that Kenya is so well known for.
Once the cherries are ripe, the bean in the center must be separated out, which is referred to as processing. In Kenya, about 90% of their coffees are wet processed to maintain the high acid content that a Kenyan coffee is expected to have.
Kenyans Prefer Tea
Although Kenya produces such wonderful coffee, the majority is exported and very little is consumed within Kenya. This most likely stems from their time under British rule; however, things are changing. In the last decade, Kenya’s coffee consumption has been on the rise and coffeehouses are exploding on the scene.
Texas Coffee Club offers 8 flavorful Kenyan coffees. They are a great morning, afternoon, and any time of day drink. Give one a try and let us know what you think!