The taste of Kenyan and Sumatran coffees have outperformed samples available in the US market at the moment, reported Consumer Reports, an American magazine .
“After sipping from more than 400 cups of coffee made from whole beans and served piping hot in heated China cups, our expert tasters found one excellent and two very Good Kenyan brews,” it said.
The tasters cite the top rated Allegro Kenya Grand Cru for its balanced flavour.
The ‘very good’ Green Mountain Kenyan Highland Cooperatives; and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Kenya AA have been recognised for mild aroma and fruity tastes.
The magazine publishes product and services reviews based on consumer reports and results from its in-house testing laboratory, with millions of shoppers in US using it as a buying guide.
Experts said the positive rating will boost the industry’s ongoing branding efforts and ultimately raise demand for Kenya’s coffee in the US as consumers and blenders increase their uptake.
“Consumers now appreciate Kenyan coffee and they are likely to get more specific on origin of what they ask for when they visit retail outlets as blenders also raise the proportion of Kenyan coffee in their products,” said the C Dorman’s managing director, Ms Bridget Carrington.
The Kenya-based C Dorman is one of the leading coffee roasters and exporters from the region.
For years local coffee industry has been campaigning to increase its pie of the American market without much success.
Out of the coffee beans harvested in the country every year, at least 30 per cent is sold in Germany leaving only five to nine per cent end up in the American.
“Most of the exports usually go to blenders who mix it with produce from other countries, completing scrapping the Kenyan identity by the time the final product is bought by the consumer,” said Ms Carrington
Last year, the Coffee Board of Kenya stepped up the branding of the country’s coffee in a move aimed at placing the country in the league of countries such as Cost Rica, Mexico and Columbia which are riding on single origin coffee brands.
The board’s managing director Louise Njeru said the industry was pursuing branding both as part of value addition and as a promotion strategy.
“Kenyan coffee has high intrinsic value as a single origin for high end users and branding will give us an opportunity to penetrate various niche markets,” she said in an earlier interview.
Branding, she said, also gives the country an opportunity to forge partnership ventures with overseas supermarkets chains and roaster, easing market access.
On the other hand, Sumatran coffees- Green Mountain and Starbucks – are rated ‘good’ by the Consumer Reports Magazine.
Price didn’t predict quality: Two of the lower-rated Kenyan coffees cost a hefty $16.99 per pound,” says the article.The Kenyan coffee, the magazine adds, tend to cost more than Sumatran with overall prices ranging from Sh880 ($11) to 1,360 ($17) per pound (450grams).
At the Nairobi Coffee exchange, prices of major coffee grades have taken an upward trend, which officials are attributing the low production and positive sentiments about the Kenyan coffee.
Data sent to the Business Daily on Wednesday indicates that grade AA is currently sale at an average price of $351.13 per bag, is a 9.55 per cent increase over last year’s levels while grade AB is currently going for an average price of $303.64 per bag – an increase of 35.7 per cent over the 2009 levels.
Source; Consumer Reports