KENYAN COFFEE BEANS
- Variety: Arabica
- Growing Altitude: 1700- 1800 meters
- Milling Process: Fully washed and sun-dried on raised beds
- Aroma: Fresh. Floral
- Flavor: Berries, Bergamot, Lemongrass
- Acidity: Bright
- Body: Rich, Heavy
When it comes to naming the best coffees, there are only a handfuls of coffee-growing regions that come out on top. Kenyan coffee beans are definitely on the list. Coffee connoisseurs consider Kenyan coffee beans to be elite and famous due to their full body and delicate flavors. Kenyan coffee beans taste this way because the farmers are careful with the way they grow the beans.
From the ideal growing conditions to the extensive research and sales strategies, there is so much behind the scenes that keep the supply of delicious Kenyan coffee beans flowing to other parts of the world. Let's tell you more about this special coffee bean.
FLAVOR CHARACTERISTIC OF KENYAN COFFEE BEANS
Kenyan coffee is known for its sweetness and powerful character. Kenyan coffee tasting notes give distinct winey richness and dry winey after-taste with a full-bodied richness similar to that of Ethiopian coffees. At high elevations, Kenya plateaus produce some of the world's finest coffee.
Kenyan coffee is also known as the ‘Connoisseurs Cup’. Just take a moment to appreciate the sublime, and intoxicating black currant undertones in the flavor and aroma of Kenyan coffees. One of the reasons Kenyan coffee is among the top coffees is because they have distinct flavors.
COFFEE ROWING IN KENYA
As we mentioned, most Kenyan green coffee is grown at elevations from 1400- 2000 meters above sea level in the volcanic soils in Kenya. This elevation qualifies the beans for Strictly High Grown/ Strictly Hard Bean status. High altitude means that the coffee grows slowly and it has ample time to develop and provide lots of nutrients to the coffee beans. This area spans from 17000 feet Mt Kenya south towards the capital of Nairobi, while a smaller growing area is found near the borders of Uganda on the hills of Mt Elgon.
The growing regions in Kenya include Ruiri, Muranga, Thika, Mt Kenya west, and Kiambu. Even factors like morning sun and evening sun affect the flavors and chemicals that affect how the coffee cherry develops over time. These growing regions include a wide range of native forest ecosystems that supports a variety of wildlife. Also, the coffee industry in Kenya has many small farms and cooperatives as well as larger estates.
Did you know that about six million Kenyans are involved in the country’s coffee industry? Most coffee farms even have 50- 500 trees. Kenya has a cooperative system of milling coffee, as well as marketing and auctions, which are held during the harvest season to create a situation of price wars over the finest Kenyan coffees.
This market system has been on for a long time. This method is efficient because most farmers sell the beans by dropping them off at larger buyers or processing stations that process them.
COFFEE CULTURE IN KENYA
Coffee beans were not grown in Kenya until the 1890s when a group of French missionaries arrived in Kenya from an island off the coast. The farms where the missionaries settled have become the nucleus of Kenyan coffee. Do you know that Kenyans prefer to drink tea instead of coffee? Ironic right?. When they drink the coffee, they prepare the traditional bitter coffee known as ‘Kahawa Chunghu’. It's a spicy black coffee brewed at home or sometimes in the marketplace.
This spicy back coffee is brewed in a brass kettle over a charcoal stove. Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger are often thrown into the kettle, making the coffee bitter. It is usually served in a miniature cup with dates or other treats. In other parts of the region, they brew ‘Kahaw Tamu’ which is sweeter and lighter.
KENYAN COFFEE TODAY
Kenya now ranks as the 16th largest exporter of coffee, it has become a critical player in the coffee industry today. Since its introduction, coffee farming has provided jobs to the locals. More than 150,000 farmers and 6 million workers are employed in the industry. Coffee has not only benefited the Kenyan workers but it has helped the country overall, in terms of global exportation and trade.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT KENYAN COFFEE
The most popular Kenyan coffees are SL-28 and SL-34. We know these names soundund robotic but it's as a result of the fact both coffees were promoted by Scotts Lab years ago. The Kenyan government hired the lab in the 1930s to determine the most economically viable coffee strains in the country. The SL-34 is distinguished in the field by its bronze-tipped leaves and resistance to heavy downpour. The SL-28 is the prima donna of the two as it offers a complex and dazzling tomato-like acidity and uniqueness.
You should know that the Kenyan coffee beans are graded by size, the measurement process is carried out before roasting. The largest beans are graded Kenya E (the E stands for Elephant), while the second-largest is graded Kenya AA.
There are different types of coffee beans in the world, but they are categorized into two: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are known to offer better flavors and are considered higher quality coffee. They have different flavor notes which range from fruity to floral, chocoatey to winey The Robusta beans have strong flavors and bitterness. They are also cheaper, easy to grow, and produce more yields. Kenya is a near-perfect place to grow Arabica beans which are known to thrive at higher elevations and in deep, well-drained soil.
A particular method has been established for processing Kenyan coffee beans which results in a high-quality product. The processing method carried out is the wet method which tends to yield a cleaner, brighter and fruitier cup of coffee.
During harvest, only perfectly ripe cherries are selected with care taken to remove any damaged fruit. Then, the beans undergo a long fermentation process that can take up to 36 hours. This process removes the slimy sugary coating on the cherry, after which they are sun-dried on patios and sent for milling.
SUITABLE ROAST TYPE
Kenyan coffee is suitable for all roast types but most people opt for a light to medium roast as it better emphasizes the subtle, fruity flavors of the beans. Different classifications of Kenyan beans respond differently to the application of heat, but since all the beans are dense, it won't really matter. The most important thing is that the roaster highlights the fruity acidity of the beans along with a creamy mouthful. At Coffee hero, we don't over roast coffee beans, we roast coffee to bring out all it's subtle flavors.
Are you already craving some? Click here to order some. A light roast is often flavored but when allowed to roast a bit darker, the beans come out with sweeter berry flavors. Light roast also comes out with malty and banana nuances whereas slightly darker roast brings out caramel and cocoa tones to the forefront. So take your pick already, what's it going to be, light, medium, or dark roast?.
The Kenyan coffee beans are highly acidic, so the best brewing method is to use the steeping method. It pulls out the nuanced flavor from the beans while not overwhelming the coffee with acidity. If you want to brew Kenyan coffee at home, you could use Aeropress, French press, or cold brew.
These methods still preserve the subtle floral and fruity flavors of the beans. If you don't have acidic reflux after drinking coffee and you want to highlight the bright acidity, you can brew stronger and use finer grounds than you normally use for these brewing methods.
WHERE TO BUY QUALITY KENYAN COFFEE BEANS
Kenyan coffee is so good because of its unique flavor tones. With proper roasting, the bold flavor of the beans comes out and that's what makes it stand out from other popular beans. It has a charm that captivates most coffee drinkers. The beans are only cultivated in highlands with a suitable climate. The farmers also employ a uniform method of processing the beans to achieve a full spectrum of flavors.
Kenyan coffee beans are at the top of the gourmet ladder, so they are readily available. You don't have to go all the way to Kenyan to get this flavorful coffee. For optimal freshness, buy coffee from roasters that ship as soon as they are roasted. At Coffee hero, coffee beans are roasted every day, you are sure of getting the best. We also offer free shipping. The coffee can be delivered to your café, restaurant and even your office.