When I am working as a barista, and I brew Kenya AA coffee as our coffee of the day, I drink it black rather than my usual morning mocha. (Don’t tell John Weaver I have been drinking mochas) I really enjoy the flavor and complexity of the Kenya AA coffee beans. It is amazing to me that coffee, when roasted properly can taste so different depending upon the origin, the way the coffee is processed and the way the coffee roaster roasts the coffee.
John Weaver uses different African Coffee beans in his roasting, as single-origin coffees and also in his Arabica coffee blends. My mom is always making me taste the various coffee beans from unique coffee farms across the globe. Things get very hectic when we are at the tasting table, cupping different coffees, and even though the coffee is spat out into a spittoon, you still feel the caffeine for the rest of the day. Let’s just say our shipping department and the entire roasting process goes a lot faster after a coffee cupping at the Roastery.
Weaver’s Coffee & Tea prides itself on sourcing the highest quality Arabica coffees from four different continents and then taking the time to hand-roast our green coffee beans into beautiful rich and luscious coffee. One of our top selling and truly loved single-origin coffee coffees is our Kenya AA coffee. We have many high-quality coffees, however, the coffees we source from Kenya and Ethiopia constitute two of my favorite coffee flavor profiles across our wide selection of twenty-four coffees.
John Weaver once told me that if you trace your finger around the equator, the regions in which your finger touches land tend to have the perfect climate and conditions for coffee growing.
While countries like Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia are examples of countries that export the highest volume of green coffee, surprisingly Germany and Switzerland come in third and fourth in exporting green coffee each year. However, those green coffee beans are re-exported from coffee-growing countries around the equator, meaning Germany and Switzerland rank high in exports without growing a single plant. These two countries source their green coffee from other countries and then redistribute the raw green coffees throughout Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.
When you start to research the business of coffee, the one thing you always come back to is that the African continent and particularly East Africa is the birthplace of coffee.
KIRINYAGA COUNTY | KENYA
Kenyan coffee enjoys a celebrated reputation for its bold and distinctive flavor. This coffee is selected because of it is the most intense and sophisticated. We have a special fondness for brilliant Kenya coffees with their wine-like acidity and ripe fruit flavors. This selection is from the Karani washing station, part of the larger Kabare Farmers Cooperative Society. The Karani AA has notes of lemon, sugar cane, mandarin orange, with a soft sweet finish.
Kenya’s geographic location is intersected by the equator creating near-perfect conditions for growing coffee. The warm sun combined with the fertile soil allows the coffee cherry to ripen under the region’s excellent coffee growing conditions. The coffee that we source from Kenya is as wild and bright as its East African Homeland. Exclusively Kenya, this medium-bodied coffee is bold with subtle nuances that light up the palate from front to back. John says you need to savor its brilliant acidity with a natural progression of flavors from grapefruit, orange, to blackberry, to a sublime wine grape, currant flavor.
Map courtesy of La Minita Coffee
KENYA COFFEE PROCESSING
Below is an interesting video on coffee processing in Kenya. Learning about how the coffee cherry goes from the coffee tree to your morning cup of coffee is very interesting, especially a Kenya AA coffee cherry. The red coffee cherries are picked, then the coffee cherries are sorted based upon color and ripeness and separated from sticks, leaves, or any other material potentially found in the picking baskets. Once the coffee cherries are sorted by the farmer the coffee cherries are then split by a machine to unwrap the green raw coffee bean from its casing. Once the coffee cherry is popped it is then separated from the green coffee bean and washed thoroughly to remove any potential excess casing on the bean. The coffee beans are then fermented where the beans are put into water to remove any excess casing and remove the parchment-like material casing that surrounds the coffee bean. Once the coffee beans are fermented, they are then transported into an underwater soak in which they sit for nearly 16-24 hours, this is termed as the two-stage fermentation process procedure which improves coffee quality. Following this stage, there is a final cleaning in which the coffee beans are washed to remove any final bits of casing still on the bean or dirt accrued throughout the process. Now the coffee farmer brings the green coffee bean to the exporter or, in the case that they do not have the machines to separate the bean from the cherry, they bring the coffee cherries to the coffee exporter who then does the aforementioned process in their place. Once the beans finish the water soak the coffee beans are then put out onto tables or tarps to dry in the warm African sun and turned until dry.
The coffee business is based on a complex trade economy in which the product you drink has been inspected every step of the way. The average coffee consumer does not understand the global commodity chain and the way coffee switches hands on its way to becoming your morning cup of coffee. By learning about how the coffee is grown, processed, and sold we are able to gain a better insight into what we are consuming, the quality of the coffee, the way it is processed and the freshness when you open the bag of coffee. While writing this blog I learned about the many stages of how a coffee cherry is handled from coffee farmer to your morning cup of coffee and I believe you will find it interesting as well.
The next time you visit one of our Weaver’s Coffee & Tea cafes or find yourself online looking at coffee blogs, tea blogs or coffee and tea recipes on our website, consider adding Kenya AA to your shopping cart. When brewed Kenya AA coffee fills the room with an incredible aroma, the fruity warmth of this unique flavor profile will transport you to the tropical climate of Kenya. Coffee beans begin their journey in Kenya as a plant, then they are harvested, properly processed and shipped all the way to California where they are hand-roasted by our master roaster John Weaver. There is a lot of people involved in the entire process. We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to purchase these green coffee beans and roast them into perfection for you. We look forward to hearing your reviews on Kenya AA, the best single-origin coffee you will taste in the new year.
Featured Image courtesy of Joan Wangari Kariuki