Travel Blogs

Kenya coffe versus the rest of the world

I am the first to admit that my morning does not properly start until I’ve had that first sip of my strong, black coffee (two sips at least to start a Monday morning). I’m a massive coffee fan, and travelling around the world not only heightened my uncontrollably love for caffeine, but also educated me into the world of the coffee bean.

Coffee in Kenya, Cinco Rescources

Simply put, coffee is split into three basic groups- the Americas, Africa and Asia. Whilst the flavour from South and Central America provides a well-balanced choice for first time coffee drinkers, and the flavour from Asia giving smooth and dense tones, beans from Africa offer something a little different to the coffee fanatic.

Along with Ethiopia, the other stand out “coffee country” in Africa is our good old Kenya. Known for its consistently rich flavour, coffee harvesting in Kenya is one of the main agricultural incomes, offering opportunities on both a local and global scale.

Most of Kenya’s coffee is grown at elevations ranging from 1,400 to 2,000 metres above sea level in the volcanic soils and the high plateaus around Mount Kenya in Central Kenya. The nature of such high altitude means that the beans grow slowly, allowing ample time for them to develop and increase in nutrients and flavour.

Once the coffee beans are harvested, they are carefully separated and rated by bean size, colour, shape and density (with the heavier and bigger beans regarded the highest quality). I learned this first hand as I watched some local people flick the coffee beans up and around a woven basket. The beans that don’t “jump” as high when the basket is flicked, are the heavier ones and therefore separated out as the better quality ones.

Once it’s roasted, grounded and brewed, cuppers (professional coffee tasters… what a job eh?) have often described Kenyan coffee as medium bodied and berry-toned. To the standard “I only drink coffee to wake me up” person, this basically means that the Kenyan coffee bean has a very powerful and fruity taste.

Regardless of the bean itself- dark, light, roasted, grounded, made into a latte, cappuccino, frappuccino, mocha… you name it… there is no denying that coffee production in Kenya is extremely important.

Funnily enough, although there is no denying the importance of coffee as an export product, a survey found that the majority of Kenyans would much rather drink beer than coffee! Good for them, but I’m not so sure cracking open a can or two on a Monday morning would go down too well here in the office, so for now, we’ll stick with coffee.

Keep doing what you’re doing Kenya, you make our mornings a lot easier!