is commonly believed to be one of the best coffee varieties around the world. The taste profile of this Arabica, dominated by flower and fruit notes, is very refreshing as well as refined and dry.
The mark “AA” is a symbol of the highest quality coffee beans from Kenya. The perfect “round” body, a distinctive aftertaste and a rich bouquet of wine flavours are all due to the proper shape, size and density or structure and consistency of the refined beans.
The coffee plantations in Kenya are located between 1400 and 2000 metres above sea level. Such high elevations combined with rich volcanic soil, moderate temperatures and seasonal rains provide the perfect conditions for growing Arabica. As altitudes increase, coffee becomes increasingly “wild”, fresh and surprising and gains a rich bouquet in which fruity notes play a large role. Kenyan coffee is a sought out combination of fruity tastes (blueberries, citrus fruits) with wine acidity and complex aroma. Hand in hand with high quality is “reproducibility” of the properties of each batch of beans thanks to Kenya’s effective coffee politics.
The entire area over which coffee trees are cultivated in Kenya amounts to around 160,000 hectares, of which 1/3 are large plantations. The rest are small plantations; about 700,000 exist throughout the country. It’s central area is located in the vicinity of Mount Kenya and stretches towards the capital - Nairobi. Small plantations can also be found on the slopes of Elgon Mountain, on the border with Uganda. The maturation period of coffee cherries and the harvest are connected with the appearance of the rainy season; in most districts coffee fruits ripen from October to December.
Kenyan “Coffee politics”
The cultivation of coffee in Kenya was initiated by the British at the beginning of the 20th century, but only after gaining independence in 1963, when production processes were streamlined and modern technologies were implemented, did Kenya achieve success on the coffee market. Currently, average annual production amounts to approx. 1 million bags (standard 60 kg).
Kenyans have developed an effective system of small farming cooperatives concentrated around open auctions, thanks to which the high quality of the beans is maintained. All Kenyan coffee is concentrated by one organisation – the Coffee Board of Kenya. It coordinates the work of coffee cooperatives and subjects all raw beans to strict quality testing to check their taste and aroma, size, shape or weight. The highest class of beans is designated by the symbol “AA”.
Coffee has enormous significance for Kenyans as demonstrated by the fact that the destruction or grubbing-up of coffee trees is harshly punished by law.