Kenya AA Coffee

 The Best Kenyan Coffee

The Reputation of Kenya AA Coffee 

The continent of Africa has a long and rich coffee history. Ethiopia is often considered to be the birthplace of coffee. There are many African born beans that hold a very high reputation among coffee connoisseurs today.

Of all of the Kenyan coffee brands, AA is the one you’ll hear about the most. Kenya AA coffee is consistently ranked among the best, not only from Africa, but from the entire world. With such a pristine reputation, it’s worth taking a look at some of the reasons that Kenya AA coffee is so highly regarded.

If you’re here for some Kenya AA coffee recommendations, feel free to skip to our list!

Here's a quick summary of our picks for best Kenya AA coffee!

The Roaster

The Visual

Defining Aspects

Available As...


Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee
  • Vibrant wine-toned acidity
  • Sweet notes of citrus & berries

Cooper's Coffee

Kenya AA
  • Notes of cherry & bittersweet chocolate
  • Honey-toned sweetness

Screen 18 Crafted Coffee

  • Notes of wine & berries
  • Bright, wine-toned finish

Can't decide? Give Volcanica a try, it's one of our favorites!

What is Kenya AA Coffee?

So what is Kenya AA coffee anyway? Kenya AA coffee does not refer to beans from a particular single origin. The AA portion of the name is in reference to the Kenyan coffee bean size grading system.

Kenya AA beans are the second biggest in the ranking system. Only E (for elephant) grade beans are bigger.

Larger beans are often associated with a higher quality, but size isn’t everything! On top of the size grading, Kenyan beans are also assigned a quality class. Quality can range from 1-10, where 10 indicates the highest quality.

Consumers have come to expect class 10, AA graded beans!

Kenya AA Coffee Elephant

Elephant beans may be the biggest, but AA are the best!

Kenyan Coffee Growing Regions

As the AA label does not indicate a growing origin, Kenya AA beans can come from a few different regions. Different growing regions offer slightly different conditions, and thus the final product can vary a little.

The vast majority of Kenyan coffee is grown at high altitudes between 1400-2000m. Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon offer such elevations and also provide nutrient packed volcanic soils that are ideal for the growth of coffee.

The capital city of Nairobi, situated just south of Mt. Kenya, is the heart of the coffee industry in Kenya. Beans grown in the Mt. Kenya range are often marketed as being Nairobi born, due to it being a very recognizable Kenyan coffee brand name.

Kenya AA Coffee Taste Profile

Seeing as how there are many regions in which Kenya AA coffee is grown, there is some variance to the signature taste profile. Different locations range in elevation, soil quality and various processing methods are used.

In spite of this, Kenya AA coffee has one of, if not the most distinguished taste profile of all. You can expect your Kenya AA coffee to offer these signature characteristics;

  • A bright & biting acidity that is typically said to be wine-toned. This is the most defining characteristic of Kenya AA coffee. Most experts would agree that these beans produce the some of the brightest coffee in the world.
  • A fruity juiciness with hints of tropical fruit, berries, blackcurrant & often more tart, citrus-toned notes.
  • A complex sweetness that can sometimes be almost savory.
  • A medium to heavy body that can have a syrupy mouthfeel at times.
  • A strong, sweet, floral or fruity aroma.

Sounds pretty good right? This description honestly doesn’t do Kenya AA coffee justice, you really need to taste it to understand.

This has nothing to do with Kenyan coffee, we just like zebras.

Kenya AA Coffee History

Kenya AA coffee is one of the most well-known and highly regarded coffee varieties in the world, famous for its exceptional quality and unique flavor profile. The history of Kenya AA coffee is closely tied to the development of the coffee industry in Kenya.

Coffee cultivation in Kenya began in the late 19th century during the British colonial era. The British colonial government encouraged coffee production as a cash crop, and coffee was first planted in the region around Nairobi in the 1890s.

The coffee industry in Kenya grew steadily throughout the early 20th century, with coffee plantations established in various regions, particularly in the highlands areas of central Kenya. The country's high altitudes, volcanic soils, and equatorial climate provided ideal conditions for growing Arabica coffee.

Kenya AA coffee is characterized by large beans, distinctive bright acidity, and a complex flavor profile with notes of black currant, wine, and citrus. These unique flavor attributes are attributed to the country's terroir, which includes factors such as altitude, soil composition, and climate.

Kenya's coffee industry continued to thrive in the decades that followed. Coffee became a vital export for the country, contributing significantly to Kenya's economy.

In the 1950s, Kenya underwent significant political changes as it sought independence from British rule. The coffee industry also experienced changes during this period, with efforts made to empower smallholder farmers and promote cooperative coffee production.

Today, Kenya remains a prominent player in the global coffee market, known for producing some of the world's best Arabica coffee. The grading system, which includes AA, AB, PB, and other grades, continues to be used to classify Kenyan coffee based on bean size.

To protect the authenticity and reputation of Kenyan coffee, the Coffee Board of Kenya oversees the quality control and marketing of Kenyan coffee. The board ensures that Kenyan coffee meets specific standards, and only coffee produced within the designated regions of Kenya can be labeled as "Kenya AA" or other grades.

Kenya AA coffee is highly sought after by specialty coffee roasters and enthusiasts worldwide. Its unique and complex flavor profile, combined with strict quality control measures, makes it a prized coffee variety and a source of pride for Kenya's coffee industry.

The Best Kenya AA Coffee

Due to the reputation of Kenya AA coffee, the market is flooded with options to choose from. With so many options, it’s tough to know which beans will give you the Kenyan coffee experience that everyone is raving about.

That’s where we come in. As Kenya AA coffee enthusiasts, (to put it lightly) we have tried countless different beans from countless different roasters. Here are the 3 best Kenya AA coffee beans that we’ve tried! Enjoy!

1. Roasted By: Volcanica Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, sweet, notes of wine, citrus & berries

This is one of our favorite coffees of all time! This one has everything that you could want or expect from a Kenya AA coffee. The vibrant wine-toned acidity that Kenya is famous for is the defining feature of this coffee. An intensely sweet and fruity aroma hints at the citrus and berry flavor notes to come. As far as we're concerned, this is a must try for any coffee lover, especially if your preferences tend toward brighter, fruitier beans!  

2. Roasted By: Cooper's Coffee Company

Roast: Medium-Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of cherry, Baker's chocolate & honey

This next one deviates a little bit from the signature Kenya AA taste profile. A honey-toned sweetness and bittersweet notes of chocolate set it apart from many other Kenyan beans. Don't worry, the signature bright, wine-toned bite is still present in full force here! If you tend to prefer a darker roast, this is the coffee for you!

3. Roasted By: Screen 18 Crafted Coffee

Roast: Medium-Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of fruit, berries & wine

Our last coffee is roasted by Screen 18 Crafted Coffee. "Screen 18" is a reference to the screen size used to sort AA beans. This roaster specializes in Kenya AA beans, and it shows! This coffee is rich, with notes of fruit, wine and berries. Complete with the telltale bright kick, this one offers everything that you'd expect from a premium Kenyan coffee. Hints of wine stick around in the finish. Highly recommended!

Kenyan Peaberry Coffee

While we’re talking about Kenyan coffee, we felt the need to also mention peaberry coffee! Although by definition, peaberry and AA coffee are of a different grading, Kenyan peaberry coffee is also fantastic! 

Here’s our favorite Kenyan peaberry coffee if that’s more your speed!

Roasted By: RhoadsRoast Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, notes of tropical fruit, black cherry & citrus

Kenyan peaberry coffee is comprised of beans that are quite similar to the AA grade, and thus the resulting coffee is quite similar. This coffee contains a large variety of pleasing aspects, from the multiple distinct fruit notes, to the honey-like sweetness, to the tangy acidity! If you're  a peaberry fan, you need to check out Kenyan peaberry coffee. Period.

You can also check out some more great peaberry coffees here if you're interested!

That's a wrap ladies and gentleman. Hopefully you've found a Kenya AA coffee that sounds right for you!

What are your thoughts on Kenya AA coffee? Do you have a favorite that we need to try? let us know!

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