Magic Beans – Where to get great coffee beans in Nairobi

I’d like to firstly point out that this is purely subjective (has everything to do with my palette). The following are my top picks for coffee in Nairobi, in no particular order.

  • Jacana Coffee - Available at the River Cafe, you have a choice on how it’s roasted (they stock green beans) and ground. So, depending on the machine you have at home (espresso coffee typically requires darker roasts, finer grinds – percolated coarser grinds and you can get away with a medium roast), you can order what you want. It helps that the beans are fantastic. I buy 1 kilo every two months from there.
  • Pete’s Coffee - Available at the iHub. Pete is the de facto  barista for the tech community in Kenya. His coffee is a blend of Kenya’s finest though he refuses to disclose his sources (we demand Open Source coffee!!). This coffee is one of the best blends available in the Kenyan market for espresso based drinks. He sells whole beans and can also grind to your specifications on request.
  • Gatamboya Coffee – So, I’ve had more than my fair share of coffee in this life, but this coffee blend, by Dormans, is hands down the best I’ve had out of a filter machine. Not as great when you use it for espresso based drinks, but for filter coffee or the french press, it’s divine. The beans are available from the new Dormans outlets. You will need your own grinder though, as I do not think they grind the beans for you.
  • Java’s Ethiopian Gourmet – Nairobi Java House stock this. Decent for espresso. It’s the best beans they have in stock at the moment.
  • Out of Africa  – They have great coffee, they just do not sell whole beans which means that the coffee does not retain it’s flavour as long as it ought to, nor do you get options with regards to the grind. I only use their medium roast coffee for filter coffee purposes. They currently have a sale though at all Nakumatt stores.

If you think I have left out any great sources, please feel free to comment and we can add to the list. There are other sources but I have left them out as they are not as reliable (quality-wise)/easy to find/accessible etc.

8 thoughts on “Magic Beans – Where to get great coffee beans in Nairobi”

  1. Ah .. great info!!

    I always use the Ethiopian coffee from Java and I’m quite happy with it. But I def have to try the others. I also have a question for you.. do you know if anyone is selling the Nespresso capsules in Nairobi? I heard that the coffee is good, but I’ve never tried.. Apparently u also need to buy a special coffee machine to use them

  2. I have some beans coming through, I can happily share with you.

    Yes, it’s tricky to get Nespresso capsules in Nairobi – you have to use the Nespresso machines. Thing about Nespresso is not that it’s great, it’s just that it’s never bad… I have a friend selling a Nespresso machine, the problem though is getting the pods shipped consistently…

    Read up on this article from Aeon magazine http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/julian-baggini-coffee-artisans/

  3. Thanks for the info, and the article. It’s a great read indeed. It’s true that the capsule system somehow takes away the “artisan” aspect of making your own coffee. Perhaps we should do the opposite and go for the Ethiopian style -raw coffee beans. Not perfect if you’re time constrained though :-)

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