Nestled in the highlands of Central Kenya, the Nyeri region (pronounced knee-yeh-ree) boasts storied and thriving coffee-growing history. Located on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Nyeri is situated at a high altitude ranging, which is a contributing factor to the uniqueness of coffees sourced from the region. Nyeri agriculture is not only known for its fertile volcanic soil, but also for producing some of the finest specialty coffee beans in the world.
Coffee was first introduced to Kenya in the late 19th century and quickly became a popular crop in the Nyeri region. The ideal climate, high altitude, and fertile soils of Nyeri provided the perfect conditions for Arabica coffee cultivation, which has continued to thrive since the early 1900s. The region has a rich history of small-scale coffee farming, with many family-owned farms passing down the coffee-growing tradition through generations. Today, Nyeri coffee is renowned for its high quality and distinct flavor profile, and it remains a sought-after bean among coffee connoisseurs worldwide.
In the Nyeri region, coffee farming is predominantly carried out by small-scale farmers who own plots of land ranging from half an acre to a few acres. The farmers mainly grow SL28 and SL34 Arabica coffee varieties, which are known for their exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles. The coffee plants are typically grown under shade trees, which helps protect them from harsh sunlight and maintain a stable microclimate. While specific processing methods may vary from farm to farm, most coffees from this region are processed using the washed method, which involves removing the outer skin and pulp from the coffee cherry, then fermenting the beans in water to remove the remaining mucilage. The beans are then washed and spread out to dry on raised beds or drying tables. This method helps retain the coffee's bright acidity and brings out its complex flavors, making it highly valued in the specialty coffee industry.
Nyeri coffee is renowned for its bright, complex, and fruity flavor profile. The beans are characterized by their vibrant acidity, which is balanced by a rich, full-bodied texture. The most commonly reported tasting notes include blackcurrant, red berries, and citrus, often accompanied by a hint of floral undertones. The coffee's sweetness is reminiscent of brown sugar or molasses, with a pleasant, lingering finish. Nyeri coffee's distinct flavor profile can be attributed to the region's high altitude, fertile volcanic soils, and meticulous processing methods. The combination of these factors results in a truly exceptional coffee that is highly sought after by specialty coffee enthusiasts around the world, including the Perfect Extraction team!
One of our favorite Espresso blends sourced from the Nyeri region is Third Wave Coffee's "Light Spro - Kenya Nyeri AA" coffee, which claims to have notes of lemon, berry, and grilled pineapple! Third Wave's description for the coffee hails it as "an exquisite coffee that is sure to leave an impression on your taste buds."
Some of the best-known farms and coffee cooperatives in or near the Nyeri region include the Gikanda Cooperative Society, which comprises of Gichatha-ini, Kangocho, and Ndaroini coffee factories, and the Tekangu Cooperative Society, which encompasses Tegu, Karogoto, and Ngunguru coffee factories. These cooperatives play a crucial role in supporting small-scale farmers by providing them with the necessary resources, training, and direct access to international markets. Their commitment to sustainable farming practices and quality assurance has contributed to the continued success and global recognition of Nyeri coffee. Overall, the Nyeri region remains a shining example of Kenya's thriving specialty coffee industry, offering a unique and exquisite cup that continues to captivate coffee lovers around the world.