Growing Areas

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Most coffee in Kenya is grown on small farms, organized into co-ops. According to the Coffee Board of Kenya, as of 2005 there were 700,000 smallholders organized into nearly 600 co-ops, and nearly 3300 estates of 2 to 20 ha each. This plethora of tiny plots makes it difficult for consumers to pinpoint the source of their Kenyan coffee, which is often only labeled as "AA" -- the highest grade sold at auction. Sometimes it may be labeled with a regional, estate, or co-op name, but finding information on these is nearly impossible for the average consumer. It has only been recently that direct relationships between growers and roasters has been allowed, and the information specialty roasters provide on their producers is a welcome source of crucial information for consumers.

 

iStock plantThe primary growing regions are those surrounding Mt. Kenya (Nyeri, Murang'a, Kirinyaga, Embu and Meru), Nakuru, Machakos, and Kiambu (mostly estates, includes towns and coffees labeled Ruiru, Thika, Juja and Makuyu).