Coffee has been produced in Kenya since its introduction in 1893 on British-based farms. In 1933, the country established the Coffee Act, and in turn the Coffee Board of Kenya and Kenyan auction system, which helped to ensure regulation. The Mau Mau uprisings in the country placed the control of nearly all coffee production in the country in the hands of the Kenyans.
How does it grow?
Most Kenyan coffee is produced on small farms between Mount Kenya and Nairobi, as well as close to the Ugandan border on the western side of the country. The area has a particularly good climate for cultivating Arabica coffee, thanks to a warm climate, nutrient rich soils and high altitudes of between 3000 to 6000 feet. It takes around three to four years before a coffee tree will begin to produce a usable crop.
How to ensure quality?
Kenyan coffee’s quality is measured after milling, the process of removing the remaining fruit from the bean. A grade is given to the crop, dependent on bean size, shape and weight amongst other factors. In other countries and on the international market, bean density, region, species and cup quality are all contributing factors to the grading system. The top grade AA Kenyan coffee is considered to be one of the best worldwide.
How is it well-known?
Kenyan coffee is well known and loved around the globe for several reasons. The sweetness, full body and flavour offer a balanced finish in terms of acidity. The quality of Kenyan coffee also comes down to the production process. Many people believe that the best millers are based in Kenya, and the farmers are experts at ensuring the freshness of their crop.
How to make the perfect coffee?
The first part of the process is to start with whole beans and freshly grind them. Coffee grinders are handy for this, which you can purchase from Tesco. If possible use bottle or filtered water to ensure cup quality, which can be tainted by chemicals in treated water. Aim to use one to two tablespoons of ground coffee per every six ounces of water. You’ll want to brew you coffee at around the 200 degrees Fahrenheit mark. If you’re using a dip system, brew your coffee in water for no longer than five minutes (for a cafetiere, three minutes) and when you’re making an espresso around 30 seconds.
Kenyan coffee is drunk and transported around the world. There are many regions to discover, but why not start with the best and give a cup of Kenyan coffee a whirl! Understanding the process behind your cup of Joe should help you to appreciate it that little bit more, whether just chatting with your friends over a casual coffee or taking it easy with a good novel.