Coffee Farm Tour: One of the Best Things to Do in Kenya
I was astonished to find out that Kenya wasn’t the biggest coffee producer in Africa. Back home, most of the imported coffees were from Kenya (apart from South American countries).
In fact, I booked a coffee-farm tour in Kenya solely because I thought they were the biggest coffee producer in Africa.
That just goes to show how well-known Kenyan coffee is, internationally.
And the reason is its quality.
The acidic soil in the highlands of Central Kenya, coupled with just the right amount of sunlight and rainfall provide excellent conditions for coffee plants to thrive. Kenyan coffee is known for its full body, intense flavor, and fragrant aroma with subtle notes of cocoa.
In 2012, it was estimated that there were about 150,000 coffee farmers in Kenya, and at least six million Kenyans who were employed directly or indirectly in the coffee industry.
So, your trip to Kenya wouldn’t be complete if you don’t pay a visit to one of the coffee farms in this beautiful East African country.
How to Book a Coffee Farm Tour in Kenya
If you’re in Nairobi, your best option is to go to Mbumi Coffee Estate in Kiambu. Booking can be made on Airbnb app/website or by clicking on this link.
At the time of writing, this tour has had close to 200 positive reviews. I have checked other tours on various booking platforms, but this one is the top-rated one so far.
What to Expect on the Coffee-Farm Tour
Mbumi Coffee Estate is located in a district called Kiambu, 16 kilometers away from Nairobi. Depending on traffic, it could take you around 30 minutes to get there from Nairobi city center.
The easiest way to get to the coffee estate is by Uber or boda-boda’s, which are motorbike taxis that you can either flag down by the roadside or book through online apps such as Uber Boda and Safe Boda.
It’s also possible to take a bus from Nairobi, but you need to know where to stop, and from the bus stop, you still have to continue the rest of the way by motorbike.
I chose boda-boda, much to the horror of Susan the host, who said she would never let her children ride on one.
Little did she know that the roads and motorcycle taxis in Nairobi actually felt a lot safer than in neighboring Uganda. And I had taken boda-boda all the time when I was in Uganda.
Susan and her husband had lived on the Mbumi Coffee Estate for over 20 years. That was where they raised their 3 children. Her husband was the one who ran the day-to-day operations of the family coffee farm, and eventually it rubbed off on her.
Now, she combines her passions for coffee and meeting new people to allow visitors to discover the uniqueness of Kenyan national treasure.
Unfortunately, Susan wasn’t able to show me around on that day as she had to pick her children up. So, she placed me in the care of her assistant — Stanley — and assured me that I was in good hands.
The Coffee Farm
Kenya’s coffee industry brings in about US$200 million per year, making it the country’s third largest export, after flowers and tea.
Unlike the bigger coffee producers in Africa, the coffees produced in Kenya are still 100% hand-picked, ensuring only the best quality — which explains why they produce less, and which is also why they are the coffees of choice for the international market.
Stanley taught me to differentiate coffee berries, coffee cherries, and coffee beans. We picked a few coffee berries of varying ripeness so that I could compare them.
The green, unripe ones were almost impossible to peel, while the ones that were so ripe that they turned black peeled easily but were very dry inside.
I was surprised to know that the beans — before being roasted to its familiar brown form — were actually whitish in color, slightly slimy, and sweet.
The Coffee Factory
Next, we moved on to the coffee factory.
From there, they flow into fermentation tanks, where they are de-hulled, and the natural enzymes of the coffee cherries will loosen the slimy layer surrounding the beans, thereby giving Kenyan coffee a very unique flavor. Note that this fermentation stage is often skipped in many other countries.
Roasting My Own Coffee
The factory didn’t only contain heavy machinery, it also housed piles of burlap sacks filled with coffee beans of various grades. Stanley scooped up a handful of the best ones for me to roast and bring home.
To roast the beans, we had to go to the roasting room next to their office. There were two roasting machines — one small and one industrial-grade. Since we were only roasting a small amount, we used the smaller one.
Before we began, Stanley made me choose between medium roast and dark roast. To make the dark roast, we would have to roast the beans longer and at a higher temperature. He showed me samples of the finished products as below:
At first, I went for dark roast because it was more aesthetically pleasing and had a much stronger smell.
However, Stanley had a different opinion. He said that the dark roast was better as whole beans. If we ground it, it was going to lose its scent and flavor much faster. Since I wanted my coffee grinded, it was best that I made a medium roast.
Well, I had to trust the expert.
Coffee and Cake on the Rooftop
While waiting for the roasted coffee beans to cool, we went to the rooftop to have some coffee.
There was a long table already laid out with two sets of baked goodies, fruits, and a jug of freshly brewed coffee.
Accompanying our meal was a picturesque view of the coffee farm. It was hard to realize how vast it was until you saw it from a high vantage point.
When we were done, we went back down to the roasting room and packed the coffee.
Stanley helped me call for a boda-boda to take me to the main road, and from there, I continued the rest of the way back to Nairobi on a matatu (public bus).
Final Thoughts on the Kenyan Coffee Tour
Truthfully, I’m not that much into caffeinated drinks. Coffee, especially, tends to give me a headache, a gassy stomach, and palpitations. But I would still give it a go every now and then, because who could resist the smell, right?
Besides, I love experiences like this one where you can actively participate, instead of just watching and listening. This coffee-farm experience gives you all of that, plus a souvenir to bring home to the coffee addicts in your life — if you’re not one yourself.
So, if you’re in Nairobi, you should definitely visit this coffee farm in Kiambu. Make sure you bring your own camera, comfortable walking shoes (preferably sport shoes), a hat, and arrange for your own transportation to and from the venue.
Have you visited any coffee farm before? Where did you go? Share your experience in the comment section below.
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bestnyaaa tak pernah pi ladang kopi. pengalaman yang berharga dapat pi sendiri dan rasai sendiri
Ya bae, saya memang minat tour yang macam ni. Walaupun saya tak berapa minum kopi, tapi best tengok pemprosesan dia dari awal sampai akhir. Dan kita boleh try bakar kopi tu sendiri untuk bawa balik sebagai cenderamata. Rasa puas hati sebab tu hasil tangan kita sendiri (walaupun kita cuma tolong bakar je hehe).
bestnya dapat travel tempat2 macam ni. mesti bau wangi je kan kalau stay kat kilang die. best tu bau coffee yang baru nak buat
Actually masa kat kilang dia tu takde la bau coffee sangat. Masa roasting tu je bau. Tapi best la tour ni. Especially untuk peminat kopi. Saya yang bukan coffee fan ni pun enjoy. 🙂
rajinnya travel! so envy especially tengok kopi tu terus rasa nak buat coffee now. thank you for the sharing!doakan my turn untuk ke sana pula
Hehe, rajin ke? Dah memang hobi. 🙂 Semoga Khai pun berkesempatan untuk ke sana juga nanti.
Bestnya dapat tengok ladang kopi siap dapat tengok cara buat.. Nampak beza kopi sana.. Like you bercerita, dari pergi, berapa harga, perjalnan..
Oh, beza ya? Saya pun tak tau bezakan sebenarnya. Terima kasih, Nadia. Semoga info2 yang saya share di sini bermanfaat bagi mereka yang ingin pergi ke sana.
Wow semua nama unik. Teringin juga nak sentuh pokok kopi dengan biji yang tak proses lagi. Pernah tengok daun teh dalam proses je
Saya pun sebelum ni tak pernah tau rupa biji kopi sebelum diproses. Selalu tengok yang dah dibakar je. Coffee tour di Mbumi ni sangat complete sebab kita ditunjukkan dari peringkat semaian sampai la jadi serbuk kopi yang sedia untuk diminum
This is interesting and nice activity bah to gain knowledge about coffee.. I been to the small scale Luwak coffee tour at Bali last time. Can try this also!
Ya Kitkat, I’ve also been to the kopi luwak tour in Bali but that felt more commercialized, more like a coffee shop tour than a factory tour. This one in Kenya was more informative. If you go to Kenya, put this on your to-do list 🙂
Bagi saya kopi adalah terapi , tak minum lagipun bau dia dah cukup menyegarkan dan menenangkan hati dan perasaan. Ni kalau kongsi kat group FB Peminat Kopi mesti best. Manalah tahu satu hari nanti bila semua kembali normal bolehlah datang situ melawat ladang kopi dan kilangnya….
Saya minum kopi juga but not a true fan la. Cuma saya memang minat tour yg involve food and drinks macam ni. Feel free to share this in the coffee lover groups if you’re a member. Would really appreciate it 🙂. Thanks, Saidila!
Bagusnya tour ni sebab kita boleh involve in the process. Tak semua tempat boleh offer pengalaman macam ni sebenarnya.
Betul Ana, saya suka tour yang interaktif macam ni, yang mana kita pun boleh involve sekali, bukan setakat tengok dan dengar saja.
thanks for sharing this coffee farm visit, I am a coffee lover so enjoyed reading here to learn much more about coffee 😀 cheers, siennylovesdrawing
Glad that you enjoyed reading this, Sienny. It was an enjoyable and informative tour even for a non-hardcore coffee drinker like me. 🙂
Besarnya sampai 150 ekar ladang kopi dia! Mesti ramai pekerja dekat situ. Selalu tengok dalam iklan biji kopi dah coklat dah rupanya yang asli warna putih. Bestnya dapat experience merasa kopi Kenya!
Ya, Farhana, memang luas ladang ni. Tapi masa saya pergi tu tak nampak pun pekerja dia sebab dah tengah hari. Diorang kerja awal pagi. Saya pun ni baru kali pertama tengok biji kopi sebelum diproses. Putih rupanya dan agak manis. Langsung takde bau atau rasa kopi. Kalau pergi ke Kenya atau mana2 negara pengeluar kopi, mesti cuba pergi tour ladang dia. 🙂
Selalu pg tea farm.. ni mcm menarikla pula.. coffee.. bestnyaa dapat tgk dr dekat
Ya, Ayu. Tea farm dah biasa kan, kat Cameron Highlands. Sesekali kita pergi coffee farm pulak. Bukan setakat boleh tengok je, malah boleh cuba juga memproses kopi.
Suka baca blog u sebab u dh gi byk giler tempat..baca pengalaman u travel terus rasa rindu nak kembali travel. Bestnyaaa coffee..
Terima kasih, Min. Semoga blog ni memberi inspirasi dan idea2 baru untuk sesiapa yang ingin travel pada masa akan datang. Saya pun rindu nak travel ni.
Wow I can actually smell the aromatic freshly brewed coffee and the freshly roasted coffee beans.
Cara Nak Target Audience diFacebook
Yup, Kak Su. This place would be paradise for coffee lovers. The tour around the farm and factory only builds up your anticipation towards the climax — a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
kalau pergi travel sebenarnya lagi best kalau dapat melawat kilang-kilang tempat orang produce barang and kita belajar sekali
Betul tu Messarah. Selalu kita cuma beli sebagai cenderamata saja, tapi kali ni kita dapat belajar dan tengok sendiri macam mana diorang buat. Sangat menarik untuk kita melawat ke kilang2 penghasilan barangan tempatan di sesebuah tempat tu, terutama kalau produk tu ialah sumber pendapatan utama negara tersebut.
bestnya dapat pegi ladang kopi and merasa buat kopi sendiri. mesti pengalaman paling best dalam hidup kan
Terima kasih, FD. Nak kata pengalaman yang paling best dalam hidup tu tak la, tapi memang sangat seronok melawat ke ladang kopi di Kenya ni. Sebab kita bukan saja dapat tengok kaedah pemprosesan kopi kat sini, tapi juga boleh turut serta. Siap boleh bawak balik lagi.
wah seronoknya..iena tak pernah pergi lagi ladang coffee tapi pernah pergi perusahan kopi luwak dekat jogja..dapat la tengok biji coffee dari proses awal sampai akhir..
Oo bestnya. Saya pernah jugak join kopi luwak tour kat Bali, tapi diorang tak tunjuk sangat pun cara proses kopi tu. Diorang just bagitau how it’s done, lepas tu terus buat coffee tasting. More like a shop tour, actually. Nanti saya cari info lebih lanjut lagi about the one in jogja. Thanks for letting me know, Iena.
OMG! Saya coffee lover… selalu tgk dokumentari dalam TV je kalau bab bab proses kopi apa semua ni. You have the best experience kat sana, boleh tengok depan mata. Seronok dapat masuk coffee farm kat sana…
Ya, Sofinah, memang seronok. Tambahan pula, Kenya ni memang antara pengeluar kopi terbesar di dunia, dan terkenal dengan kualitinya. Jadi, rasa beruntung dapat tengok sendiri macam mana cara penghasilan kopi di sini.
Ini kalau Sis dapat pergi ni, memang gilaaa laaa minum kopi dan mebeli kopi, sebab Sis ni coffee lover, suka try macam-macam kopi.. nampak nikmatnyaaa laa secawan tu..
Oh, kalau macam tu sis memang kena pergi la tempat ni, atau mana-mana ladang kopi yang lain. Dah tentu rasanya pun berbeza-beza. Mesti seronok bandingkan setiap satu.
HI UMMI.Thanks a lot for visiting Mbumi Coffee Farm here in Kenya. it was such a nice experience being your guide of the day..☕️☕️Coffee always
Hey, Stanley! So good to hear from you again. Thank you for the great experience and for sharing your knowledge with me at Mbumi Coffee Farm. I miss Kenya already!
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