Monday, June 3, 2013

East African Coffee Review


East African coffees tend towards the exotic in flavors as compared to the more well know Latin American coffees. These flavors include what's described as fruity and floral with high acidity and medium body. Let's review several of the more popular East African coffee growing countries.


The king of African coffees, washed Arabica Kenya coffee, is considered overall to be of the highest quality on the continent as a result of years and years of production, very high standards, superior milling facilities and coffee experts. Located on the east coast of Africa, Kenya's Mombasa port has been a natural focal point of commerce for ages. The famous Rift Valley of Central Kenya where most of the people live. A fertile land from the tropical coasts, semi-desert north and the savannahs in the south, Kenya's agricultural products, primarily tea and coffee, contribute to half of the country's exports.
The primary coffee growing regions are located around Mt. Kenya, just north of Nairobi, the country's capital. This region has two distinct rainy seasons; the first is April-June which results in what's called "fly crop" and the second is October-December with its increased rain produces the "main crop."
Characteristics include a high acidity, full body, intense floral and fruity flavors.
Growing regions include: Meru, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri, Embu and several others.


By most accounts considered the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is located in northeast corner of Africa just north of Kenya, next to Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan. It is interesting to note that Ethiopia is the leading coffee consuming country in Africa, consuming almost half their annual production.
Ethiopian coffee is a prized coffee for its very unique flavors, most often a result of a combination of soil, terrain, weather and often the natural drying process of the coffee cherries in contrast to the washed processing of most Arabia coffees considered high quality Specialty varieties.
Characteristics depending on the variety may include: balanced medium body and acidity with winey sweet or floral flavors and blueberry notes.
The most popular varieties in the United States are Harar, Yirgacheffe and Sidamo.


The mainland is primarily a savannah plateau lying east of the famous Rift Valley, Tanzania includes the island of Zanzibar. In the north lie Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park. With its tropical climate people are concentrated on the coastal region and in the north. Coffee is one of its main exports. Tanzania has several regions, north, south and west where coffee growing is found.
These Arabica coffees are mostly of the washed and fully washed varieties with the harvest season extending from April through December.
Characteristics include a balanced body with bright acidity and flavor. In the south we find more fruity flavors.
Popular varieties include Kilamanjaro, Makambako, Songea and Bukoa.


This very small, but densely populated country borders Tanzania, Congo and Rwanda with a mountainous high plateau and tropical climate. A very poor country, most of its population survive through subsistence agriculture. Its coffee and tea earn 90% of its export dollars.
Primarily a washed Arabica variety, the harvest season extends from February through June.
Characteristics include a full body and bright acidity, typical of east African coffees. A long way from the ocean, processed coffee must be transported across land through Tanzania to the port of Dar es Salaam or through Kenya to Mombasa.

1 comment:

  1. This is the nice article on the East African coffee. My knowledge about coffee is now increases through this article.

    Kopi Luwak