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Kenyan Coffee Beans – How They’re Graded and What Beans to Buy

Table of contents


$ 0.44 - $1.95 per ounce

  • How to serve: No widely accepted way to serve. Make it as you please. Recommended to filter it through a cloth.
  • flavor: High in acidity with natural sweetness and slight hints of fruity and floral notes.
Varieties Arabica (Kenya AA, Ruiru 11, SL 34, SL 28, K7, Batian)
How to Serve No widely accepted way to serve. Make it as you please. Recommended to filter it through a cloth.
Flavor High in acidity with natural sweetness and slight hints of fruity and floral notes.
Recommended Machine Any machine can work for this coffee as long as you fresh grind the beans with a Burr Grinder.
Good As Espresso, Americano, Doppio, Lungo, Cappuccino
Price Range $0.44 – $1.95 per ounce
Caffeine Level 1.1% on average

Kenya’s coffee history begins in the 19th century, right after the missionaries imported Brazilian coffee into the country. For now, Kenyan coffee is considered one of the world’s most famous types because of its mouth-watering aroma and complex taste.

Did you know that most coffee lovers list Kenyan coffee among the five best they have ever tried? Well, it should come as no surprise, given its full body, sharp acidity, robust flavor, and wonderful scent. Kenyan coffee is admired for its berry undertones such as black currant. The flavor of black currant is unique to Kenyan beans, and it’s one of the reasons why a cup of Kenyan coffee tastes so different. The country is also known for its experimentations on different varieties of beans producing weird hybrids. The following can be found growing in Kenya nowadays:

Arabica Robusta Typica
Ruiru 11 SL 34 SL 28

It is important to note that Kenyan coffee is sought after by a lot of people from all over the world. The main reason behind this fact is that the country does not produce that much coffee – currently, Kenya ​​has a total area of plantable land of only about 150,000 hectares. This is mainly concentrated in regions like: Nyeri, Thika, Muranga, Mt. Kenya West, Ruiri, and Kirinyaga.

How are Kenyan Coffee Beans Graded?

Did you know that there are 10 different classes of Kenyan coffee depending on the quality of the cup? Some of the Kenyan coffee beans grades include:

The coffees are graded while they are still in the growing process. Any plant has the capacity to produce all grades of coffee starting from E, ending with AA. However, ​​the quality of a coffee is determined by “Class” rather than the Kenya coffee grading system. Kenyan coffees are given a “Class” rating ranging from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

For now, Kenya AA is considered one of the finest coffees. The main contributor to this is the elevation at which they are grown; higher than 6500 ft above sea level. Kenya AA has some of the most unique tastes, such as notes of passion fruit and wine, which are almost always tempered by a crisp and pleasant acidity.

Other Kenya grades, for instance, Kenya AB (which is a mix of both – Kenya A and Kenya B) is also popular and qualifies for premium coffees, however, it is not as highly reputable as Kenya AA.

Kenyan Coffee Growing Regions

The first coffee in Kenya was grown in 1889 near Nairobi. Since then, it has proven to be highly popular and became a major Kenyan export product over time.

Currently, many small farmers in Kenya have yet to discover a clear way to the worldwide market, however, this is gradually changing. Meanwhile, it is perfectly possible to get Kenyan coffee online, which leads to nearly 90% of the coffee’s annual output being exported. The main contributing regions include the following:

Down below we’d like to take a closer look at one specific region that’s known for its exquisite product, Mt Kenya West.

Mt Kenya West – Largest Kenyan Coffee Growing Region

Currently Mt. Kenya West is the largest Kenyan coffee-growing region. It is Africa’s second-highest mountain, where coffee grows freely. The low oxygen and cooler temperature at this altitude inhibit the growth of the coffee fruit, allowing for the development of the desirable floral, sweet, and fruity characteristics.

The Mt.Kenya region contributes to around 50-60% of the country’s entire output of Arabica coffee beans and grows numerous other sub-varieties for diversity as well. It’s currently one of the biggest agricultural projects the country has.

Top 5 Kenyan Coffee Brands on Amazon

The best place to get Kenya-grade coffee is Kenya itself, there’s no doubt about that. But not everyone has the luxury of getting on a plane and going to Nairobi, nor the patience to wait for a package to be delivered from their local roasters. Luckily, Amazon has a large list of Kenyan coffee products which are just as good as ordering from a Kenyan farmer. Let’s take a look at the top 5 best options.

How We Rated Them

We pay attention to the following:

For more detailed information on how exactly we rate the coffee products we suggest in our guides, click here.

Individual Overviews of Our Top Choices

Although you can get quite a lot of information from individual customer reviews from our suggestions, why not stick around and see what we have to say about these products ourselves and why we decided to list them? Individual overviews of our top Kenyan coffee brands can be found below.

First Colony Kenyan Beans

Price: $$45.59 (subject to change)

Size: 5 pounds

Type: Kenya AA

Roast: Medium

Producer: First Colony

Beans: Whole

Before we discuss more details, let’s take a look at the brand behind the product. This coffee is made by First Colony, created back in 1902 – considering the fact that it has been on the market for such a long time, means that they know how to serve a high-quality product. In fact, this company is one of the first coffee manufacturers in the world that sells a bunch of coffees including fair-trade, single-origin, decaffeinated and flavored ones.

When I first bought this coffee, I didn’t expect much from it as the package was not exciting at all and I thought that the taste would be the same. However, after taking the first sip, I immediately changed my mind as these Kenyan coffee beans were quite tasty – there was no burnt taste to the bean and I didn’t have a bitter aftertaste either. The price is very affordable, and the brand behind it is very trustworthy.

Check Price on Amazon

Kenya AA Peaberry Coffee

Price: $$14.99 (subject to change)

Size: 16 ounces

Type: Kenya AA

Roast: Medium

Producer: Out of Africa

Beans: Whole

If you’re looking for a coffee that is directly delivered to you from the mountains of Kenya and is affordable at the same time, then this Peaberry coffee was specially created for you. The package of the coffee is quite nice but more importantly, the coffee itself tastes great.

My favorite thing about this brand is that it is pretty affordable. For a 16-ounce package, you will have to pay $14.99.

For a long time, this coffee used to be my favorite, as I ground it almost every morning and brewed it with my french press. The taste was very smooth with a hint of chocolate. Other than that, it comes from Kenya Peaberry – Its beans are small and round and have more intense flavors compared to other Kenyan coffees. Peaberry takes up only 5% of total coffee production in the country, which makes this type pretty rare and unique – with its fascinating fruit flavors (such as citrus and berry) this coffee is definitely worth trying.

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Kenya AA Light Roast

Price: $$20.99 (subject to change)

Size: 12 oz

Type: Kenya AA

Roast: Light

Producer: Coffee Bros

Beans: Whole

Kenya AA Light Roast is a complex Kenyan coffee that comes with the taste of chocolate and lemon, along with sugary plum. Additionally, it is from the well-known SL-28 and SL-34 varietals, which are known for their exceptional sweetness. SL-28 is one of Africa’s most well-known and respected cultivars. It has spread from Kenya (where it was first discovered in the 1930s) to other parts of Africa (Tanzania) and, most recently, Latin America (Costa Rica).

The company behind this product is Coffee Bros that was created back in 2019. Their coffee is roasted by hand – utilizing the most up-to-date tools and technology to ensure consistent roast profiles every time.

For a single 12-ounce package, customers will have to pay $20.99. Besides the fact that the package is pretty nice, it has a shelf-life of 6 months, meaning that you can enjoy it after several months of opening it. This coffee’s flavor profile is exactly how CoffeeBros describes it: well-balanced with a hint of fruit. It’s the right mixture of bitter and sweet for me, which makes this coffee one of the best Kenyan coffee online.

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Kenya AA Unroasted

Price: $$47.95 (subject to change)

Size: 5 pounds

Type: Kenya AA

Roast: Unroasted

Producer: Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

Beans: Whole

This freshly roasted coffee manufactured by FRC LLC is a perfect choice for coffee lovers that love to roast their coffee at home. This Kenyan coffee, roasted to a medium or even a medium-dark, surprised and thrilled me with its rich flavor and body. As for the taste, it has a lot of blueberry notes and a clean taste.

The good news is that the company behind the product is highly reputable. It has a huge selection of coffee beans not only from Kenya but many other countries in the world. The beans are carefully selected from Kenyan farms after extensive quality checking.

One package of Kenya AA Unroasted weighs 5 pounds and costs $47.95. All in all, this coffee became one of my favorites on the first roast, that’s why I consider it one of the best Kenyan coffee to buy.

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Kenya AA Ground Coffee

Price: $$47.95 (subject to change)

Size: 5 pounds

Type: Kenya AA

Roast: Unroasted

Producer: Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

Beans: Whole

Kenya AA Ground coffee is grown at an altitude higher than 6500 feet and its quality is considered one of the best in the world. This beverage is full-bodied, strong, and juicy with constant berry and rich fruit flavor. It is possible to roast this coffee to a medium or dark level that helps you bring out unique flavors, however, if you are someone who is looking for more subtle flavors should try a lighter roast. The acidity of Kenya AA Ground coffee was well balanced as I expected, as this variety has such characteristics.

The brand behind this product is Screen 18 by Colonial Coffee Roasters in Miami. Colonial has been providing the best of the best, highest quality specialty coffees for more than 70 years, cupped and re-cupped throughout the purchasing, roasting, and packaging processes to provide the most flavorful and finest coffees available. So, if you are looking for ways to buy Kenyan coffee, this might be the best choice available for you.

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Best Machines for Brewing Kenyan Coffee at Home

How do you like your coffee made? Do you prefer to put it in the machine and get it done within a matter of seconds or do you want to be involved in the process of making it? Well, I’ve seen both kinds of people – From my experience, it is always a better idea to brew your Kenyan coffee at home by yourself, so you are able to get the best possible taste and aroma. Below, we will discuss some of my favorite methods of brewing coffee including Moka Pot, Pourover, and Drip. Make sure that you check out all of them and choose your favorite one.

Moka Pot

Some may consider Moka Pot an old method that is out of fashion, however, it can still produce a very tasty coffee. This is a fairly simple brewing process that, when done correctly, can produce some amazing results. With a Moka Pot, a full-bodied, powerful cup with a noticeable bitterness and low acidity are to be expected. So, here’s the list of things you are going to need:

Once you have gathered all the necessary items, it is time to get into a coffee-making process that looks like the following:

  1. Grind your coffee
  2. Add water to the bottom part of your Moka Pot
  3. Insert the filter into the bottom part of your Moka Pot
  4. Fill the filter with the coffee and level it to the surface with your fingers
  5. Connect the top and bottom parts of your Moka Pot
  6. Put Moka Pot on the stove and use medium-level heat
  7. Once you see a rich-brown stream of coffee, remove Moka Pot from the heat
  8. Pour the coffee into your cup and enjoy!

Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to keep your Moka Pot clean as it will help you produce a better taste. It is a common misconception that not cleaning your brewer from old coffee is a nice idea, while the reality is completely different.

Top Moka Pots Listed


The next method we are going to discuss is the pourover that is mostly used by coffee shops and cafes, however, it is perfectly possible to do it by yourself at home. All you need to do is gather all the necessary accessories and follow simple steps. Here’s the list of things you are going to need:

I highly advise you to get a scale if you don’t already have one, as it is going to help you measure your coffee and water precisely which in the end, will result in something that tastes good. Here’s how the coffee brewing process looks:

  1. Measure 0.8 to 1 ounce of your Kenyan coffee beans and carefully grind them with a Burr grinder.
  2. Wet your filter with water and dump it all out
  3. Take your ground coffee and place it into the brewer
  4. Wet coffee grounds with water and let them sit for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Continue pouring hot water onto the coffee grounds (slowly!)
  6. Once all the water has been added gently stir it
  7. When the water is drained, remove the filter, and voila! The coffee is ready, just pour it into the cup and enjoy.

That’s all there is to it. I do recommend you try this with light roast coffee though, as I’ve seen it produce much better results than with dark or medium roast.

Best Pour Over Coffee Makers


Have you ever wondered how drip coffee machines work? Well, if yes, you will get all the necessary answers now. When you fill up the reservoir with cold water it immediately flows down and levels out within the appliance. The tubing runs past the heating element, which is responsible for both heating the plate and the water itself.

Once you click the “turn on” button on the coffee machine, it runs an electric current through the heating element. A special sensor keeps the temperature in check (switching on and off) to maintain the normal temperature.

After that, the water starts boiling which later rises up in the tubing. These bubbles force drops of water upward and out of the showerhead where the water pours over the coffee grounds. The water runs through the beans, picks up coffee oil, and goes to the bottom of the filter, then out of the basket, and finally into the pot.

Here’s the list of things you are going to need:

Once you have all these things, then you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Add water to the reservoir
  2. Add the right size of paper filter to your machine
  3. Add coffee ground into the filter
  4. Click the “turn on” button and the machine will start brewing
  5. Pour and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee.

It is always a good idea to preheat the coffee pot and cup so your brewed coffee tastes better. All in all, whether you use a coffee maker for a quick morning fix or to entertain dinner guests at dessert, knowing what goes into each step of the process helps ensure that every cup of coffee you serve tastes fantastic.

Drip Coffee Machines Here

Frequently Asked Questions on Kenyan Coffee Online

Is Kenyan coffee Robusta or Arabica?

What is Kenyan AA coffee?

Why is Kenyan coffee so good?