Kenya

Kenya coffee beans are some of the most distinct and easily recognisable thorough-out the world. This is due to their wonderful flavour profile, typically consisting of big bright acidity matched with great body, fruitiness and a sublime aroma. Coffee was first introduced to Kenya in the nineteenth century when plants from Ethiopia were imported via South Yemen. Although, it wasn’t until the twentieth century when Bourbon trees were finally introduced by St Austin Mission. Most Kenyan coffees grow at altitudes between 1500-2000m and there are two harvests every year. Coffee is grown mostly by small farming groups that deliver the ripe cherries to co-operative washing stations. These farmers are then paid the average price for the appropriate quality. This system was designed to reward the best producers but many complained they were not getting adequate re-numeration for their lots. As a result, in the past decade the Kenyan Government have relaxed the market to an extent, removing the export monopoly from the state run 'Coffee Board of Kenya'. The Kenyan governments attempts to reduce bureaucracy has done little to stem the fall of production, however the best coffees still appear to be very sought after. The best grades are PB (Peaberry), AA Plus Plus, AA Plus, AA, AB and then so on down the scale. In 1969-70, Kenyan coffee exports totalled 800,000 bags. By 1985-86, production peaked at 2 million. In 2005 production levels had droped to almost half of that, with just over 1 million bags. Despite this fall in production, Kenyan coffee beans consistently achieve high prices at auction. Fuelled by demand from the speciality sector for their distinctive qualities.

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