Coffee: Kenya Washed Arabica AA FAQ
Roast Recommendation: Medium to Medium Dark Roast
Notes: Bright citrus acidity, bold body, well balanced, pleasant sweet aftertaste. chocolate, citrus notes
Main Producing Region: Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu, Machakos
Processing Methods: Mostly Washed, Some Puled Natural and Natural
Genetic Varieties: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian
Coffee was introduced to Kenya in 1893 and by 1912 a number of large coffee estates several hundred acres in size were established around the Kiambu-Kikuyu area growing primarily Kent and Bourbon varieties. By the time Kenya gained its independence in 1963, Kenya had already gained a reputation for producing some of the highest quality coffee in the world.
The vast bulk of Kenya’s coffee is sold through an auction system, under the guidance of the Kenya Coffee Board. Private marketing services and exporters buy top quality lots through these auctions, having cupped samples of available lots before hand. Traceable Kenya coffees are available from either privately owned estates, or cooperatively managed washing stations commonly called “Factories.” Factories are typically organized in Societies, much like cooperatives organize under associations in Latin American coffee producing countries.
Unique to East Africa is a letter based size grading system. Screen sizes are measured in 64ths of an inch increments. “AA” is the largest size grade, consisting of beans with screen sizes 17 and 18. “AB” refers to 15/16 screen, “C” grade is 14/15 screen and “PB” is the small peaberry bean. Larger screen sizes fetch higher auction prices even today, with much of the international market preferring a large size bean.
The quality of Kenya coffee is considered among the highest in specialty coffee circles. The sweetness, complexity and bold acidity is practically unmatched by any other coffee growing region. Fruit notes range from citrus (grapefruit, mandarin orange) to stone fruit (peach, apricot) to dark berry (blackberry, black currant) and everything in between. The diversity of Kenya coffee profiles is part of the origin’s charm
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