If you’re looking for a world-class coffee, you must try Kenya AA. This coffee bean is a beautifully light roast with vibrant acidity, a rich body, fruity flavors and fine-wine, sharp notes. AA is the highest coffee grade a bean can achieve – Kenyan AA coffee certainly earns that grade.
Kenya AA Coffee Overview
- Country of Origin – Kenya
- Regions – Mount Kenya
- Best Known Growers – Various cooperative societies and small, independent growers
- Altitude – 1,700 to 2,000 meters
- Harvest – November to December
- Milling Process – fully washed and sun-dried
- Aroma – fresh and floral
- Flavor – citrusy, fruity and winey
- Body – rich and heavy
- Acidity – high, bright and vibrant
- Certification – few Organic certifications, general standards impeccably high regardless.
About Kenya AA Coffee
AA is the highest coffee bean grade. It simply means that the coffee beans are a certain size – they pass through sieves and only the largest beans (18/64” diameter) are collected and quality checked as grade AA.
Whoever said size doesn’t matter, lied.
The large Kenya AA beans are carefully measured for size, shape, and density. No small, malformed or damaged beans go into AA Kenya coffee – even if you buy pre-ground coffee, if it’s labeled AA you know it is of the highest quality. The processing from milling (fully washed and sun-dried) to packaging has been refined for excellence. The resulting taste is remarkable and widely regarded as a world-best flavor.
Kenya AA coffee tastes best with a light-medium roast. This stops the coffee from getting too oily and draws out the subtle notes and aftertastes – when harvested, roasted and brewed correctly, this coffee is the brightest in the world.
Kenya AA is strictly high grown and strictly hard bean Arabica – the origins of which are not far away in Ethiopia. Although coffee has grown and been farmed in Ethiopia for many generations, it is only in the last 2 centuries that coffee has really taken off in Kenya and become one of their biggest exports.
About the Region
Coffee is grown all over Kenya, but the highest grades including AA are surrounding Mount Kenya on high elevated planes. The coffee plants thrive in the volcanic soils of this mountain, enjoying a warm climate with rain showers falling just frequently enough all year round.
The high altitudes that surpass 2,000 meters are sloping up to Mount Kenya, one of the highest mountains in Africa (complete with snowy peak). Coffee isn’t grown all the way up, but on the fertile lands that surround the mountain, there are coffee estates as far as the eye can see.
The farmers that work here maintain some of the highest standards for coffee growing in the world. In fact, these standards are so high and so widely maintained that there’s no need for extensive certifications like Fair Trade, Direct Trade, Organic etc. When your coffee is proudly marked as AA grade, that simply says enough about the quality of coffee that certifications are redundant.
The subtle flavors and winey aftertaste that Kenyan AA coffee is known for is far more apparent when you choose a slower, more stew-like brewing method. Even though it will provide a very high-quality espresso shot, you won’t experience the fruity notes and slight sweetness.
A French Press recipe is best if you’re trying this coffee for the first time:
- 1 level tbsp medium-fine ground Kenya AA
- Distilled, pure water
- French Press
Let your water cool slightly from boiling before adding to the French press. You want to brew for 4 minutes (or less) for this coffee. It has a high acidity and rich body that you don’t want to be overpowering, but you do want to let it steep for long enough that the fruity, tea-like notes can really extract into the water. Take into consideration how fine your grind is when calculating brew time.
Drink with or without milk – try both and decide which you prefer for this particular coffee. The strong, premium flavor works best on its own, rather than in a blend of different coffee beans.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.