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There’s a reason why Kenya coffee beans are extremely popular the world over. It’s argued that Kenyan coffee beans are among the best coffee beans in the world. In fact, Kenyan coffee is often referred to as the “Connoisseurs Cup”.
So, is this unique blend of coffee deserving of this outstanding title? If the distinct taste, tantalizing aroma and rich flavor are anything to go by, then absolutely! Plus, Kenya coffee beans are amongst the few versatile coffee beans that taste delicious when brewed hold or cold.
A good quality coffee is the right combination of sweetness, bitterness and acidity—with zero after taste and no off-notes. And here’s the catch; all these interesting qualities must be felt and tasted in just one simple sip. In my opinion, I believe that these exotic coffee beans tick all these boxes and more. Found in a wide range of flavors, Kenya coffee beans will definitely appeal to different palates. Of course, some more than others, depending on how sophisticated or well-developed your palate is.
As you may have guessed, Kenya coffee beans originate from Kenya. They are grown in different regions and processed using a variety of methods depending on which area they are harvested from. Typically harvested between November and December, these coffee beans require an altitude of between 1,700 and 1,800 meters to grow. And yes, they need specialized conditions to grow. So you might want to think twice before deciding to capitalize on this delicious tasting coffee and growing them in your backyard!
Keen on learning more about the flavorsome Kenya coffee beans that have they made their way into the homes —and hearts— of coffee lovers around the world? Keep reading as I expand on their characteristics, flavors, aroma, grades and brands.
Ultimately I want you to know everything there is to know about Kenya coffee beans and decide for yourself if they are indeed worth the hype. It always pays to expand your knowledge on the different types of coffees available because you never know what you’re missing out on. Let’s get right into it!
How about a bit of history explaining how Kenyan coffee came to be? The plant was first introduced onto Kenyan soil in the late 1800s by French missionaries. They got the plant from Reunion Island which is located just off the coast of Africa. It didn’t take much time before the plant became a major hit and cash crop for farmers in the country.
Today, Kenya is ranked number 25 in the world on the list of coffee exporters. With the majority of exporters being the country’s small scale farmers rather than large plantations. The coffee industry is very profitable to the country as a whole so much so that Kenya’s infrastructure upgraded quickly as a result. It’s safe to say that the country is doing something right with their coffee!
I speak for most coffee lovers when I say that a cup of coffee is the first thing we look forward to each morning. Having the power to kick start your metabolism and give you that much needed energy boost to start your day, it’s no wonder we can’t do without it.
Kenya coffee beans either produce a full or medium-bodied cup of coffee depending on the brand you pick. However, both options are nothing short of bold and rich. The body is pretty similar to most European coffee blends. Depending on the exact brand you pick, the coffee contains a healthy amount of caffeine—just what you need to get your day started.
Energy rush aside, we also drink coffee for the flavor. No-one wants to down a bitter-tasting beverage no matter how rewarding it is. That’s why Kenya coffee beans are a common favorite because they don’t disappoint in this regard.
Kenya coffee beans boast a consistent and rich flavor. Their acidity is quite low and mimics a taste that’s very similar to wine. The taste is characterized by complex and graphic fruity tones. Think along the lines of berries, lemongrass and bergamot with a touch of distinct black currant undertone. As previously highlighted, the flavor of coffee beans depends on the brand of Kenyan coffee you pick and which region it originates from.
Because Kenyan coffee exudes sweetness, it makes sense why the beans are wet-processed. This method aims to remove a coffee’s overly fruity substance to leave a clean and crisp taste. The method in turn gives the coffee the correct bright acidity that most coffee lovers crave.
With time and practice, your tongue will be able to detect exactly where a particular blend of Kenya coffee beans originates from.
Along with body and flavor, the aroma can also make or break a coffee. Kenya coffee beans generally give off a robust aroma characterized by a fresh and floral scent that’s enough to get your taste-buds salivating. This aroma isn’t surprising given the coffee bean’s fruity taste.
Steeping is the recommended brewing method for Kenya coffee beans to unlock the hidden flavors. The process is designed to extract as much flavor as possible from the brew without over-extracting.
However, French press, cold brewing and pour-over methods are also used by most barristers and the results are equally awesome. Kenya coffee beans go well with different ingredients. You have the option to brew your coffee with cinnamon, cloves or good old sugar.
I mentioned how there are different brands of Kenya coffee beans that you can pick. This can often make singling out one difficult. But to help you make the right pick, keep your eyes peeled for the following factors.
Before Kenya coffee beans find their way on to the market, they are first graded much like any other gourmet coffee. The coffee beans are graded according to size, shape, color and density. The size of Kenya coffee beans ranges from 8-20 and they are measured in “screens”. Beans containing 16 screens and above are considered more flavorful.
As a general rule of thumb the bigger, thicker and denser the coffee beans, the higher their quality.
But instead of inspecting the sizes of coffee, you can always look at the grade-rating stated on the packaging.
The highest quality coffee beans feature a Kenya AA rating. Just bear in mind that different grades will react differently to the application of heat. Kenya coffee beans with a grade C or lower will still give you a decent cup of coffee, but the quality won’t be as high. Lucky for you, most imports are characterized by the higher grades.
Are you into strong or weak coffee? The flavor of Kenyan coffee you pick will largely depend on the roast. I know that most coffee drinkers think that dark roast coffee is synonymous with a strong cup of coffee but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In actual fact, a darker bean equals a darker roast which makes a mild cup of coffee.
A darker roast features a lower acidity and will essentially take away a sizeable amount of the fruity notes. Just know that a darker bean is pretty oily and might leave your cup with a little oily residue.
If you’re more of a strong cup of coffee kind of person, pick Kenya coffee beans characterized by a lighter roast.
How much caffeine do you want in your coffee? Or, maybe you don’t want any caffeine at all? Pick a blend of decaf Kenya coffee beans if you prefer the latter.
Also, regarding the level of caffeine, you also need to pay attention to the roast. Darker roasts have more caffeine since they have less mass. It follows that lighter roasts have less caffeine.
Given the high quality and delicious taste of Kenyan coffee, it’s not surprising that the coffee beans don’t come cheap. They are generally more expensive compared to other brands. But like any other brand of coffee, Kenya coffee beans are available at different prices depending on the brand. Simply pick a brand you can afford.
Different brands of Kenya coffee beans produce different aromas. Some are strong and overpowering while others are subtle and delicate. Pick an aroma that you look forward to smelling when you wake up each morning!
Now that you know the characteristics and what to look out for when picking your Kenyan coffee, let’s discuss some of the best Kenya coffee beans on the market.
Volcanica Kenya coffee beans have earned themselves an impressive reputation among coffee lovers. Maybe the fact that they are graded AA has something to do with this.
The beans are characterized by medium roast to give you a complex but delicious cup of coffee. Raspberry and cranberry are the brand’s most prominent undertones. A hint of savory will pop up towards the end which most coffee lovers appreciate.
You can buy the beans in decaf if you’re not into caffeine. But to get a taste of this brand will cost you because they don’t come cheap.
It’s argued that these coffee beans will give you more of a fruity than chocolate taste but this depends on your palate. Both ways, the taste is delicious and they are the more affordable option. This makes them the perfect pick if you’re dying to try out Kenyan coffee but are working on a budget. Did I mention that it tastes equally delicious when brewed cold?
Here’s an option for strong coffee lovers. These Kenya coffee beans will give you a delicious tasting cup of coffee. Certified AA, it’s clear that they also fall under the premium grades of coffee.
If you take your coffee your milk, these are the coffee beans to pick. This is because milk will complement the coffee’s acidity perfectly.
These coffee beans are among the most savory coffee flavors the company sells. The beans will produce a fruity tasting cup of coffee with hints of brown sugar.
What I like about these coffee beans is that you can purchase them as a whole bean and grind them on your own. The latter preserves both flavor and freshness.
Have a look at this quick video on how to perfectly brew Starbucks Kenyan coffee in the comfort of your home.
Kenya coffee beans aren’t readily available in most local supermarkets. Their exclusivity may also be the reason behind their high price. You’re likely to find them being sold mostly on Amazon, in craft cafes or specialty coffee shops or if you head over to Starbucks.
You just need to know that coffee tends to lose its flavor within weeks of being roasted. That’s why some people may question the flavor since coffee beans are sold probably weeks or months after being roasted. But take comfort in the fact that most Kenya coffee beans are packaged to preserve flavor.
No doubt, Kenya coffee beans are very popular and give other coffee blends a run for their money. There’s a reason why Kenya stands out when discussing global coffee exports. The sheer distinct flavor of coffee they produce is out of this world. You simply need to decide what kind of roast you’re looking for among other factors.
Do you now know all there is to know about Kenya coffee beans? Why not conduct further research, experiment and try out a few brands? If you’re a true coffee lover, you owe it to yourself. You never know; Kenyan coffee might be your next favorite go-to beverage.