Kenya’s coffee auction system dates back to 1934. The auctions still take place at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and are widely considered to be most transparent distribution system for fine green coffees anywhere in the coffee world and inspired the model for the Cup of Excellence auctions.
Coffee growing was introduced in Kenya by the British around 1900. In the 1950, several extremely successful hybrids from Scott Laboratories were introduced and these have largely replaced the original French Bourbon stock which had been brought to Kenya from neighbouring Ethiopia. The most well-known are SL28 and SL34 and are Bourbon varieties and lend Kenya the distinctive big body and winy blackcurrant notes for which it is famed.
Following independence from the British in 1963, Kenya organised their coffee industry around a weekly government-run open auction system. This transparent system is establishing a pricing hierarchy based on quality with finer lots fetching higher prices. There is now increasing competition for the better-known estates and co-ops and particularly for the AA grade beans. The grades are simply a measure of bean