Kenyan Coffee Beans: What is Kenya Coffee and Why You Should Try Some

kenyan coffee

Today at Black Ink Coffee we have a special treat for all you coffee drinkers. For some time, Kenya coffee beans have been the rage all throughout the coffee industry, and for good reason. If you're someone who enjoys intense flavor, and a rich, full-bodied morning cup, Kenyan beans are totally for you. 

Each single origin coffee is different, and today we're going to get right into all the details surrounding Kenyan coffees, exploring everything from their specific coffee growing procedure, the distinct flavors, and why coffee experts consider Kenya AA coffee amongst the best coffee bean varieties available. Of course, we will also fill you in on where you can obtain your own fair trade Kenyan beans. 

Best Coffee Beans

What is Kenya Coffee?

kenya coffee

To put it plainly, Kenyan coffee beans are single origin of coffee that comes from Kenya, Africa. While the taste can vary from farm to farm, they typically feature a fruity flavor profile with a highly acidic mouthfeel. With an full-body, these delicious beans are often consumed black, giving the consumer a mouthwatering experience.

High Quality Beans

The results are in, and Kenyan beans are some of the best coffee beans available across the entire world, according to any coffee board. 

African coffee is known for its fragrant aroma and pleasant acidity in the flavor notes. Today, many people fill their morning fresh roasted coffee with loads of sugar and additives. Perhaps then Kenyan aa coffee is wasted on you. 

But, if you like to actually taste your morning medium roast or cold brew, look no further than graded Kenya aa coffee. 

How Does Kenyan Coffee Taste?

If you've ever drank Kenya AA coffee beans you’re probably no stranger to the full-bodied nature and pleasant aromatic oils of this medium roast coffee. 

The savory-sweet, black currant flavor notes help make the Kenya aa coffee bean famous for wine-like acidity 

While there are many varietals of Kenyan ground coffee available, the best Kenya beans give off bold flavors and juiciness that surpass almost any other arabica beans you'll taste.

How To Roast 'em

roast kenyan coffee beans

While Kenyan coffee beans are bound to be delicious no matter what, a lighter to medium roast is bound to best emphasize the subtle, bright, and fruity qualities inherent in Kenyan beans. 

While they're generally roasted especially lightly, some roasters experiment going a little darker, which can actually work to highlight the sweet berry, black currant notes, and the creamy full body Kenyan coffee beans can bring. 

The most extremely light Kenyan coffee roasts tend to have a starchy, and even banana-like quality to them. More typical light roasts are treasured for their acidity and fruity flavors. Sometimes, darker roasts are experimented with, leading to more cocoa and caramel taste sensations. 

Many people prefer something in between such as the Kenya peaberry, a medium roast with all the intense flavor and full-bodied qualities native to Kenyan coffee beans. 

Besides the roasting phase, the dying phase also plays a huge part in the flavor profiles of different Kenyan coffee beans. 

Patience is a Virtue

One especially important part here taken by Kenyan farmers, more than any other coffee farmers is their attention to the drying phase. 

The slower the drying of the beans, the more mouth-watering sweetness, and creaminess they are bound to have.

So, during roasting, beans are treated with great patience before they reach what is known as the first crack (a distinctive cracking sound emitted by the beans)

On top of that, beans are usually left for a couple of days after roasting, which allegedly optimizes their delicious sweetness even further. 

Kenyan Coffee Industry

kenyan beans

As one of history’s most longtime coffee-growing regions, the coffee industry in Kenya is among the most advanced systems around. They are known for a highly integrated network of marketing, processing, and growing capabilities. The coffee growing in Kenya began in the early 20th century and has expanded ever since. 

Since Kenya is largely a tea-drinking nation, the vast majority of the coffee they produce is exported, with only 5 percent kept for their own citizens. 

Since this is one of Kenya's biggest exports, they have over 150, 000 farmers, and nearly 6 million other workers in other areas of the industry. One part of this is shown in the advanced research in technology, with facilities designated to creating different coffee varietals,  and methods of cultivation. 

But, despite the large number of farmers involved in the production of Kenyan coffee, and the massive profitability of the trade, these farmers still remain very poor. As a result, there has actually been a decline in the production of Kenyan coffee beans in recent years. 

On top of this, many areas for coffee cultivation have been involved in property developments, and the global price instability has also contributed to fewer Kenyan beans being produced. 

Best Brewing Methods

kenya coffee beans

Like any other coffee bean, Kenyan coffee can be brewed in an infinite of ways.

However, there are some more traditional ways you should definitely consider to get the full Kenya coffee experience! These include Kahawa Chunghu, cold brew, and steeping methods.

The Kahawa Chunghu is a traditional staple in Kenyan culture, famously sipped by elders out of miniature cups.  The drink is known for its bitter taste and is a unique blend of Kenyan coffee beans and other spices. 

Using a charcoal stove and brass kettle, Kahawa Chunghu is a blend of coffee, along with ginger cardamom and cinnamon. The bitterness and spices are traditionally complemented by dates or other sweets typically served with this classic beverage. 

Another note about Kahawa Chunghu: it is known for its qualities as an aphrodisiac, alertness, and the ability to successfully resist disease. 

Arguably the best way to truly salvage the unique flavor of your single origin Kenyan coffee beans is to use a French press, or AeroPress, instead of a conventional drip maker.

If you get your hands on some Kenya aa beans, we suggest brewing them stronger and grinding them finer than usual. This is a sure way to highlight the bright, acidic quality you'll never find in other arabica beans.

Lastly, if you're a lover of cold brew coffee, Kenyan beans are an absolute must to try in your next batch. Since cold brew is the best method to preserve the floral notes of any coffee bean, using Kenya AA is sure to give you a bright, juicy morning fix.

How is it Graded?

best kenya coffee

Yes, you read that correctly, for every coffee produced, there is also a rank assigned to it. When we say Kenyan aa coffee beans make one of the most premier coffees, there is a lot that goes into this decision making process. 

Everything from the methods or regions involved in growing coffee on coffee plantations, straight down to the unique natural flavors pertaining to every different whole bean gets analyzed. 

When it comes to Kenya AA,  there are many factors that must be looked at. For example, there are many other Kenya coffees available with their own slight differences. But, if you want the best Kenyan coffee, Kenya AA is the one, and we will explain why. 

SHG Status

Beans grown in the Kenya Coffee Region tend to be produced at elevations between 1,400- 2000 meters high. Coffee production for any green coffee beans at this range of elevation receives strictly high grown status.  This tends to be a major factor in grading coffee and is one reason that Kenyan coffee beans of any variety are as good as they are. 

Because Kenya coffee growing regions are so high up in parts of East Africa this gives the coffee-growing there the ability to develop more slowly, and gain more nutrients in the growing process. So when you drink these, or other arabica beans with this status, you are bound to notice a difference from coffee grown in lower regions. 

The volcanic soil at these high elevations gives Kenya coffee beans delightful fruity notes you could not find otherwise. 

Wet Coffee

Before the roasting process, Kenyan coffees undergo wet processing. This entails the green bean itself being removed from its outer shell and has a major impact on the taste of the coffee beans. 

Generally, wet processing is associated with a cleaner overall coffee drinking experience. On top of this, this method used by coffee farmers can be credited for the bright acidity Kenyan coffee is known for. Since Kenya coffee is famous for a wine-like acidity, this is a huge factor to be considered.

Bean Size

There are 8 Kenyan coffee grades in total, including Kenya e, mt Kenya, and Kenya t.  One factor that makes for the best Kenyan coffees is actually in the bean size. For example, grade E, which includes Kenya peaberry coffee as well as Kenya AA beans are the largest, and best beans, as well as most expensive. 

The taste difference from the rich body of a Kenyan aa to a mt Kenya is noticeable immediately. For instance, the aa grades are known to be exceptionally sweet, but with distinctive black currant, fruity overtones. 

On the other hand, the lower graded varieties with smaller bean sizes are known to have a tart citrus quality, and to be described as much sourer. 

Single Origin

Another factor that makes Kenyan coffee a hot commodity at any auction system is that not a lot of it is grown overall. The country only contains 150,000 hectares of plantable land, and despite the Kenyan government exporting 95 percent of the coffee growing there, it is not nearly enough to meet the demand for Kenyan coffee beans amongst coffee drinkers around the world.

As the production of Kenyan coffee lowers due to economic conditions and property developments, this can also cause it to become more scarce, raising the price even higher. 

Which Ones to Buy?

best kenyan coffee

At the time of writing this, we do not carry a Kenyan offering. Kenya AA is certainly a must-buy for any coffee lover though. We recommend checking out the Volcanica Kenya AA for some of the best fair trade coffee beans you'll ever purchase.

As implied by their name, the brand is known for coffees emerging from regions with volcanic soil. These beans are going to deliver the distinctive flavors, that make Kenyan coffee what it is. Also, try Volcanica's Kenya peaberry. These coffee beans are essentially the most floral, bright, and fragrant beans you will ever experience! 

If you are going a Kenyan coffee bean, we certainly hope you go the extra mile for the best quality ones available. Even if it’s only a one-time purchase, it’s worth getting the full experience! But, you may find it hard to switch back to any other coffee bean. 

Best Coffee Beans