Intriguingly, while Kenyans have traditionally favored tea, it is undeniable fact that Kenya produces some of the best Arabica coffee in the world. It is only until recently that coffee, which had been seen as a preserve of western culture for a long period of time, become a popular drink of choice for locals (second only to alcohol). For the last five years, the consumption of coffee has grown tremendously as evidenced by the dozen work-friendly coffee houses littered in various urban centers across the country. While majority of these coffee roasters are high-end chains serving the middle class in the country, none has become more symbolic to this growth than Java house which set up shop back in 1999.
From the décor to the Caffe macchiatos, Cappuccinos, and Espressos, Kenyan coffee houses have come a long way and make up some of the best and impressive meeting points for business and pleasure alike. Personally, I always find myself arranging my meetings or dates at these coffee roasters with art Caffe being my favorite hang-out joint. Good Wi-fi, amazing coffee, the option to eat good food in addition to serving as relaxed hangouts with cool and comfy couches for the cosmopolitan urban populace is what makes this coffee house business to tick in Kenya. While previously the coffee consumed locally was not refined or flavored it has gradually evolved into flavored lattes and custom concoctions.
A mug of coffee goes for about $2.5 in local outlets to over $10 in global outlets, the coffee culture in Kenya however is still diverse, along the Kenyan coast you are more likely to find men drinking a traditional form of coffee popularly christened as kahawa chungu which means bitter coffee and consists of concentrated spicy black coffee boiled over a charcoal burner in long brass kettles, it costs about $0.3. In the urban centers, you will be able to sit in a coffee shop and order a double latte, a cup of sweet black coffee or cappuccinos served in cups or mug take-aways with the option of adding milk and sugar, however you like it. So diversified is the coffee culture in Kenya that you will find shopping outlets like malls and supermarkets selling different concoctions of takeaway coffee.
While the coffee drinking culture has been steadily picking in Kenya, Kenyans have a special preference for coffee processed in western countries. Few Kenyans prefer consuming coffee that has been produced and processed locally ostensibly because of the lack of modern and advanced means of refining coffee which tends to lower its quality. While Kenyans in the corporate world have had tea breaks during normal working hours, the idea of coffee breaks has not yet taken root as coffee is consumed while running various errands at various times of the day. Furthermore, consumption of coffee has not been yet accepted by all Kenyans as those from low income still prefer taking tea which is more affordable compared to coffee.