The coffee industry of Kenya is noted for its cooperative system of production, processing, milling, marketing, and auction system. About 70% of Kenyan coffee is produced by small- scale holders. It was estimated in 2012 that there were about 150,000 coffee farmers in Kenyaand other estimates are that six million Kenyans were employed directly or indirectly in the coffee industry. The major coffee-growing regions in Kenya are the high plateaus around Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare Range, Kisii, Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru, Kericho and to a smaller scale in Machakos and Taita hills in Eastern and coast provinces respectively.
While it may be widely known as a type of Kenya coffee, Kenya AA is actually a classification of coffee grown in Kenya. All Kenyan coffee is graded after it is milled. Grades are assigned based on the screen size of the bean. Beans with a screen size of 17 or 18 (17/64 or 18/64 of an inch) are assigned the grade AA, generally the largest bean. While the large bean size is considered by many to be a sign of quality, it is important to note that it is only one of many factors in determining high quality coffee.
Kenya Coffee is traded once a week at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. It is based at The wakulima house, Exchange Lane which is off Haile Selassie Avenue.
The coffee is packed in single sisal bags of 60 kg, but the bids are made per 50 kg bag.
Below is a sample of average prices of coffee (per 50 kg bag) at the auction.
The acidic soil in highlands of central Kenya, just the right amount of sunlight and rainfall provide excellent conditions for growing coffee plants. Coffee from Kenya is of the ‘Colombia mild’ type, and is well known for its intense flavor, full body, and pleasant aroma with notes of cocoa and high grade coffee from Kenya is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world.