Kenya Kirinyaga Coffee: Origin Guide

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Kenya Kirinyaga coffee, pronounced as kehn-yuh kih-rihn-yah-guh, is a unique and highly sought-after coffee variety that hails from the Kirinyaga County in Kenya. Located on the slopes of Mount Kenya, this growing region enjoys fertile volcanic soils and a high altitude ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 meters above sea level. An interesting fact about the region is that it is named after Mount Kenya, which is locally known as "Kirinyaga," meaning the "place of brightness."

History Of The Region

Though coffee has a long history in Kenya dating back to the 1890s, the Kirinyaga region's coffee cultivation began in the early 20th century. The region quickly gained recognition for its high-quality coffee beans, thanks to its favorable growing conditions and dedicated farmers. Over the years, the region has continued to produce some of the best coffee in Kenya, with Kirinyaga coffee consistently ranking high in national and international competitions.

Farming & Processing Methods

Coffee farming in the Kirinyaga region primarily consists of smallholder farmers, who often belong to cooperatives that provide support in processing, marketing, and exporting their coffee. These farmers take great care in cultivating their coffee, which is typically grown under shade trees and intercropped with other crops like bananas, legumes, and maize.While specific processing methods may vary from one cooperative to another, the majority of Kenyan coffee, including Kirinyaga coffee, is processed using the wet or washed method. This involves depulping the coffee cherries within 24 hours of harvesting, fermenting the beans for around 36 to 48 hours, and then washing off the remaining mucilage. The beans are then spread out on raised drying beds to dry under the sun for about 7 to 15 days, depending on weather conditions.This meticulous processing method, combined with the region's high altitude and fertile soils, contributes to the distinct flavor profile of Kirinyaga coffee.

Tasting Notes

Kirinyaga coffee is known for its bright acidity, characterized by notes of citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, and orange. It also boasts a juicy, wine-like body with a complex flavor profile that includes hints of blackberry, black currant, and sometimes even tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. The finish is often described as sweet and lingering, with a pleasant aftertaste of caramel and dark chocolate.Kenya Kirinyaga coffee is truly a testament to the region's dedication to quality and excellence in coffee production. Its unique and fascinating flavor profile is sure to delight the taste buds of specialty coffee enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. As you sip on a cup of Kirinyaga coffee, take a moment to appreciate the hard work and passion of the farmers and cooperatives who have cultivated this exceptional coffee for generations.

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