A coffee lover's guide to Kenyan coffee
With their bright fruit flavours and vibrant acidic notes, java drinkers around the world love Kenyan coffees.
From the best types of Kenyan coffee beans on the market to key characteristics you’ll find in a Kenyan brew, below we explore everything you need to know about coffee from this magnificent growing region.
What is Kenyan coffee?
Kenyan coffee is grown in the country’s striking, lofty plateaus of Mt Kenya, the Aberdare Range, Kisii, Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru and Kericho. These coffee growing regions are characterised by rich volcanic soil, high altitude, sun exposure and plenty of rainfall, creating optimum growing conditions for Kenyan coffee fruit and beans. Grown at about 2,000m above sea level, extreme elevation also helps Kenyan coffee beans grow slowly, allowing for plenty of nutrient intake from volcanic soils.
What does Kenyan coffee taste like?
Kenyan coffee characteristics are influenced by the acidic nature of volcanic soil, resulting in a bright, lively cup with complex flavours including berries and cocoa. Loved for its intense depth and full body, Kenyan Coffee is an excellent choice whether you’re a casual coffee sipper or true aficionado.
A brief history of Kenyan coffee
Despite being next door to Ethiopia – where Arabica coffee originated – coffee cultivation came late to Kenya.
In 1893, missionaries imported Bourbon coffee trees from Brazil. A couple of years later, British troops colonised Kenya and seized control of the crops. For the next 65 years, the highest-grade coffees were exported internationally by colonialists. It wasn’t until 1965, when Kenya gained independence, that Kenyans were able to take full ownership of growing, processing, manufacturing and marketing their own coffee beans.
Today, in Kenya, coffee is also produced using a cooperative system that includes over 150,000 small-scale coffee farmers. These seasoned coffee producers work with local roasters before beans are sold through an auction system. This transparent supply chain from coffee plantations to roasteries means roasting adjustments and improvements can be made quickly, ensuring the highest quality Kenyan bean.
Coffee production in this area is also defined by Kenyan coffee grades. This grading system involves the meticulous sorting of green coffee beans by classifications, determining the quality, bean size/screen size and price of the bean. Ranging from AA to UG2, these strict standards are a brilliant indicator of the calibre of bean you’re buying, with AA regarded as the superior ranking for a coffee bean.
Along with a cooperative system of production, the Kenya Coffee Producers Association helps contribute to the welfare and equality of producers across the country, and supports a lot of research and development in the field.
The best Kenyan coffee in the world
When it comes to quality and price, our range of Kenyan coffee brands are the best beans UK coffee drinkers can buy. Expertly roasted in small batches, with beans roasted to order, you’ll always receive the freshest possible Kenyan bean to your door. If sent to a UK address, qualifying orders will also have no delivery fee.
From fine Kenyan AA Coffee to fruity Kenya Peaberry Coffee, discover our range below. Like all our roasts, each coffee is available to buy as whole beans or pre-ground coffee (arriving in the exact grind size required for your brewing method of choice).
Grown in the Nyeri region in Kenya’s Central Highlands, our Kenya Peaberry Coffee has a smooth yet fruity flavour and fine acidity. The ‘peaberry’ bean is created when a coffee cherry produces only one bean rather than the usual two. The single bean has absorbed all the cherry’s goodness, resulting in a fuller flavoured brew.
“The Kenya Peaberry coffee is really flavourful with a fruity taste. It's absolutely perfect in my espresso machine to make a lovely morning cup of coffee!”
Phil N. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Our Kenya AA coffee gets its top ‘AA’ rating for its size and quality. Grown in Kenya’s fertile Nyeri region, the beans have a tangy flavour with rich cocoa notes that makes a robust cup. Kenyan AA coffee beans are admired for having the most aromatic oils.
If you love roasting your own beans, you can also buy our Kenya AA green coffee beans, allowing you to determine your roast profile and explore the different tasting notes you experience when brewing a light, dark or medium roast.
“As I grew up in Kenya, I really appreciate these Kenyan AA coffee beans. They're ACE.”
Alexandra J. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A harmonious blend of Kenya Peaberry and Central American beans, our Kenya Reserve Coffee marries lively acidity with nutty flavours. It’s a strong, deliciously well-rounded blend that’s great for everyday coffee drinking.
“So happy with the quality of the Kenya Reserve beans, the speed of the delivery and the packaging. Best coffee we have had in awhile.”
Charlotte L. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
How to make Kenyan coffee
Although Kenyan coffee is versatile and suitable for all brewing methods, when it comes to perfecting your Kenyan coffee brew, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Being a delicate and complex coffee, its sweet-savoury notes are best enhanced by a steeping method than a drip one. A cafetiere or AeroPress are ideal to use, and in terms of the grind, go for a finer one and brew a little stronger to maximise flavours.
If you’re partial to a chilled coffee, Kenyan beans are among the best for a cold brew. This preparation method preserves the floral and fruity notes of a Kenyan bean, of which there are plenty. Simply steep your ground coffee in cold water for 18 to 24 hours before straining out the grounds and serving.
Is Kenyan coffee Robusta or Arabica?
In Kenya, coffee is made using Arabica beans that are wet-processed. You can shop our Kenyan Arabica coffee on our website here.
What is Kenya AA coffee?
Kenya AA coffee beans are the largest and finest grade of beans you can get in Kenya. The 'AA' grading is a metric given by Kenya's coffee industry to signal the beans' superior quality. The best Kenya AA coffee beans can be bought from our website here.
If you enjoy roasting your own beans, why not try our Kenya AA green coffee beans? Exploring these beans through different flavour profiles of light, dark or medium roast, is a great way to get to know this single origin, high-quality coffee.
Where in the world is Kenyan coffee grown?
In Kenya, coffee is grown by farmers in East Africa’s mountainous coffee-growing regions of Mount Kenya, the Aberdare Range, Kisii, Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru and Kericho. These areas provide optimum growing conditions for Kenya's beans.
What are the best Kenyan coffee brands?
When it comes to shopping for the best Kenyan coffee prices that match bean quality, we advise you buy Kenyan coffee from Coffee Direct. All coffees, speciality tea items and equipment orders from our site can include free delivery to UK addresses. You can shop our speciality, single-origin beans from Kenya on our website here.
If you need any further information, facts or advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts via our Help section. If you’d like to see money-saving deals in your shopping cart, we also recommend you sign up to our newsletter for our latest exclusive deals.