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KENYA

king of coffee

MT.KENYA, CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
[PHOTO] DRYING TRAYS IN THE OFF SEASON

  • King of coffee

    Kenya is king when talking about East African coffee. There is a certain special respect paid to any coffee that comes from Kenya, and for good reason. The ‘Kenya AA’ was the very first single origin specialty coffee to become a household name. From the altitude to the know-how, Kenyan coffee farmers have what it takes to grow truly exceptional coffees.

    The last century was tough on royalty everywhere, including the king of coffee. Kenya’s influence on the world stage declined along with it’s exports – Kenya only exporter 660,000 bags of coffee in 2012, compared to over 2.1 million 25 years earlier. During this time coffee plantations have dwindled in size and output while smallholders diversified their crops.

    Some have blamed Kenya’s national coffee auction for driving down volumes. The logic here is that famers were not getting their fair share of export price, and so put less effort into growing less coffee. The brand of and need for Kenyan coffee, supported by the National Auction, kept prices high for Kenyan coffees even while both quality and farmer income dropped.

    Kenya’s recent response to this was to decentralize their coffee economy. Large milling collectives who with seats on the auction board in Nairobi were balkanized into regional groups. The dust has yet to settle on this change-up; Crop to Cup has yet to get involved in Kenya because we could not understand what our impact would be. We are still proceeding slowly, but these first coffees we are bringing in make it clear to us that this is a place we want to be.

  • Central highlands

    Once called the ‘Central Provinces’, the area around Mt. Kenya is now broken into many Districts such as Nyeri, Murang’a, and Kiambu. Higher altitudes in these Central Highlands lead to cooler temperature than one can find elsewhere in Kenya. The earth here is thick with rich, loamy volcanic topsoil. It has a lower ph (higher acidity) than elsewhere in Kenya, and slightly lower temperatures as well. Moreover the same farmers have been passing down generations of community-specific knowledge on how to pick, pulp and process their coffee. These factors all contribute to the worldwide reputation of coffee from Kenya’s Central Highlands, and a flavor profile you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
    Photos from the Central Highlands

  • $15.64 each Kenya Giakanja
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  • $15.64 each Kenya Kanake
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Kenya Giakanja - NJ -

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