The difference between Kenya AA and AB coffee

Dany Marquis

Kenya AA vs AB

In fact, it's just the size of the grains.

This grade corresponds to what we call in the jargon, a 15/16 screen in the case of an AB, and it is slightly smaller than a grain of grade AA (Screen 17/18).

These are vibrating sieves which will separate the coffees into different sizes. These are often large pieces of equipment installed in warehouses that we call sorting stations. The screens are #10 to #22 and each number corresponds to an increase of 1/64th of an inch.

The grades of Kenyan coffee correspond to the sorting sieve, i.e. the size of the sieve holes.

Wrongly, bean size is used as an indicator of coffee quality. Although high altitude coffees often grow to a larger size than coffees grown at lower altitudes, different coffee varieties grow to different sizes and should not be used as an indicator of quality.

Additionally, it is known that high nitrogen concentrations will increase bean size, but deteriorate coffee quality.

It is therefore an old habit, quick and efficient, to classify grains mechanically, set a price for them and put them on the market. Then, for the most zealous like us, the tasting will be the ultimate factor of selection and discussion.

One might assume that in general Kenya's AA graded beans are better in terms of flavor profile, but this is not the case at all. It is simply a method of sorting by diameter of the coffee bean. It's all about the tasting score and the result in the cup. Some batches of AB get amazing results, and some AAs are disappointing.

Which can be misleading.

The one we have in the classic range, the Kenya Classic , it had a tasting score of 84.5 points.

I have seen AA grains that got 83 points and were sold at a high price under the pretext that they were AA. But Kenya produces coffees that are AA graded and have noteworthy scores, sometimes in the high 90s. I try to always have in stock one or two worthy representatives of Kenyan coffees, of different quality levels, in order to allow everyone to taste this fabulous fruit of nature. And sometimes there are ABs.

I select Kenyan coffees for their fruity, juicy, tangy and bright profile. Their level of quality can be quickly identified by you, as we will put them into the appropriate collections, following our usual grading based on tasting scores.

Trust us on this. I am a great admirer of Kenyan coffees which I consider among my favorites.

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