Coffee was introduced to Kenya by English colonists more than a century ago. Many of the best coffees in Kenya come from the Nyeri region on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. A powerful complex coffee with notes of red wine, grapefruit and berries.
The fact that Kenya AA has consistently been one of the world’s best rated coffees means there’s a demand for it, and is a great way to introduce people to specialty coffee roasting. Whether buying for a commercial roasting operation or just your own home use, this is definitely one of the must-haves. The high quality (and price) of the Kenya AA means that it’s not frequently used in blends, but rather simply sold as a single origin coffee.
The typical fluctuations in the market year-to-year means that prices go up and down. This is sometimes tied to market conditions (supply and demand) and other times simply raw goods costs fertilizer, processing cost, etc. Retail prices remain fairly steady, typically changing once per year or several years depending on how volatile the market is. Wholesale green coffee from a broker/importer on the other hand, is typically priced with a week or two maximum validity to accommodate for smaller changes that are amplified in large volumes.
Buying unroasted green coffee beans to roast at home can be done starting with as little as a single pound from online distributors and wholesalers. The best quality check is to simply order a small quantity to try, review it for yourself, and go back for bulk purchases once everything checks out.
The best Kenya AA coffee is often given a Medium Roast to allow the coffee’s natural brightness to shine. Roasting it darker results in a loss of the nuances that make this bean so great, though can be done for those who prefer their coffees with more “coffee” flavour.
As with any single origin Arabica coffee, fresh roasted in whatever roast you like best will deliver better results than old, stale coffee that may have been sitting in distribution warehouses and on shelves for months. When looking at buying brands from large retailers such as Amazon and Starbucks, it’s important to make sure the coffee is labeled as fresh roasted with a clear explanation about what that means – some companies label “fresh roasted when packaged”, when it could have been packaged months ago.
Organic Kenyan coffee isn’t seen very often, but not for any negative reasons. The coffee industry in Kenya is one of the better regulated, with high quality standards that do well without Fair Trade or Organic certifications.
Growing Altitude: 1,700 – 1,800 meters
Harvest Period: November – December
Milling Process: Fully Washed, Sun Dried on Raised Beds
Aroma: Fresh, Floral
Flavour: Bergamot, Berries, Lemongrass
Body: Rich, Heavy