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Kenya

Coffee was introduced to Kenya in the late 1800s, and large coffee plantations were thriving within 15 years. But something happened in the 1930s that set the stage for Kenya to become a leader in high quality coffee production: the arrival of SL-28.

SL-28 is a selection from the Bourbon varietal, and it’s the foundation of Kenya’s modern coffee industry. The best SL-28 coffee in Kenya tends to be very balanced yet highly complex, with a strong cherry note and a phosphoric acidity reminiscent of white wine. There seems to be something special about the combination of this particular coffee and Kenya’s red volcanic soil. SL-28 grown elsewhere just doesn’t produce coffee of the same taste and character as that grown in Kenya.
Our Kenyan coffee grows on the slopes of Mount Kenya, an extinct volcano. At 17,000 feet, it’s Africa’s second highest mountain, after Mount Kilimanjaro. Our coffee grows at an altitude of about 5900 feet, where rain is plentiful and the temperature is fairly steady all year, varying only about 35oF. The volcanic soil is deep, well drained and fertile. It’s an ideal environment for growing coffee.

Coffee industry
It’s not just the perfect environment and really special beans that make Kenya’s coffee so good. In Kenya, the whole coffee industry is designed to maximize quality.
Kenya’s coffee is planted, grown, harvested and processed under a uniform system to ensure consistency and quality. The industry is regulated by the Coffee Board of Kenya, which requires all coffee mills and coffee marketers to submit coffee samples from each lot of coffee for quality analysis. The Board also provides analysis to growers to help them make informed decisions about marketing their coffee.

In Kenya, coffee is sold for export via open auction. Licensed exporters and their customers are given the opportunity to sample and assess each lot of coffee up for auction. Exporters bid on the coffee they want, and the highest bidder wins the lot. The system is simple, open, and competitive, which encourages and rewards coffee producers who place a high priority on quality.

To stay on the cutting edge, Kenya’s coffee industry relies on the Coffee Research Foundation. Funded by coffee growers, the Foundation has a mission “To research, develop and disseminate modern and innovative technologies through efficient utilization of resources for prosperity of stakeholders in the Coffee Industry.” Research and development projects focus on the production, processing and marketing of coffee.

The “dissemination” part of the Foundation’s mission is largely carried out by its Kenya Coffee College. The College’s main objectives are “to develop and organize a sustainable and efficient information management system for the coffee industry through training, production of teaching and reading materials and provision of hospitality services. It also provides an information exchange forum for students, researchers, farmers and other coffee service sectors.”

The combined effect of these systems and services, along with the care taken by the hard-working coffee growers of Kenya, ultimately pays off in coffee that is astoundingly good.

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  • Kenya Estate

    Kenya Estate

    Kenya Estate

    Intense notes of black currant, ripe cherry and that unique phosphoric, effervescent acidity you only seem to find in Kenyan coffees.

    $18.65

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