African coffee beans are considered to be some of the best grown in the world. This is largely due to the typically high elevations and lush soil conditions in which they are grown. However, to refer to coffees from Africa, as a whole, is perhaps a generalisation. Like the various countries themselves, coffees that have originated from the African continent will often greatly differ, especially when it comes to certain characteristics.
Each respective country - be it Kenya, Rwanda, or Ethiopia - may adopt a specific growing or processing method in order to offer a truly unique brew to be enjoyed around the world.
When you account for the fact that there are 30,244,049 square kilometres that constitute as the African continent (that's bigger than the United States, China, and India combined), it is really no surprise that no two coffees can be, as the saying goes, ‘painted with the same brush’.
Since 2003, Africa’s total global coffee exports have increased by over 300% to date. This is following a slight slump in the 1970’s, which saw exports drop by 25%. Before this period, Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) had all been among the top-ten countries in terms of coffee production, producing coffees such as Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. Now, however, only the East African countries like Ethiopia and Uganda have retained their positions in the global coffee market.
According to 2015 statistics, Ethiopia accounts for 39% of Africa’s coffee production, followed by Uganda at 23%. Then there is the Ivory Coast at 13%, Tanzania at 6%, and perhaps most surprising of all, Kenya at just 5%, and then you have countries like the democratic republic of Congo.
Still, this is no reflection on the astounding quality of the coffee beans to be exported from these countries. Combined, Africa currently accounts for 12% of global coffee bean production (South African coffee included as well). In stark contrast, meanwhile, the consumption of coffee in these many African countries is relatively low compared to export figures. This is mostly due to the fact that coffee exports are vital to the collective African economy.
Not only can coffee profiles change from country to country, but likewise from region to region, and even estate to estate. On a very broad level, however, coffees that originate from Ethiopia - the alleged birthplace of coffee many centuries ago - can vary in flavours and aromas from delicate to bold; fruity to floral. Two acclaimed regions for Ethiopian coffee production are Sidamo, a province located to the south of the country, and Yirgacheffe, which is a district likewise situated in the south. Both of which make some of the best coffees in the world.
We proudly stock both an Ethiopian Sidamo and an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. Further south still is Kenya, a country renowned for its outstanding brews. Kenyan coffees are usually grown at elevations between 4,000 and 7,000 feet. They are often bold, full-bodied, and sometimes even sweet. When it comes to Kenyan Coffee, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company currently hold three varieties; Kenya AA Coffee, Kenya Blend, and Kenya Peaberry.
Coffees from Rwanda, meanwhile, are known for their enticing complexity and good medium dark roast coffees. Rwandan coffee brands can frequently boast well-balanced flavours ranging from citrus to floral. They may also offer smooth, butter-like tastes occasionally reminiscent of butterscotch or even caramel. This includes our very own Rwandan Coffee. Again, it is important to recognise that with all of these countries and their respective coffees, tasting notes very much depend on a number of factors including the particular growing or production methods applied and the overall quality of the yearly crop, or whether grown at sea level or high altitude, for each coffee industry.
We also stock a number of other African-grown coffees, some of which have been artfully blended with coffee beans from different countries across the globe. This includes our Pluckley Espresso Roast Coffee, a blend of African and South American Arabica beans with Indian Robusta beans. Then there is our Mocha Mysore Blend, which uses Ethiopian coffee beans mixed with beans from Mysore, India. Yet another fine example is our incredibly popular Breakfast Coffee, a simply beautiful infusion of various Kenyan Coffees and Central American Original Coffees. Alas, this is just to name a few! It is now time for you to explore for yourself online or in store.