Kenya has a unique place in the coffee world. Its coffee history is like no other, and coffee is traded in Kenya very differently than in any other country. Similarly, there is no mistaking great Kenyan coffee in the cup. The unique characteristics of a fine Kenya are so idiosyncratic that coffee cognoscenti can identify one the moment it is ground.
Amazingly, even though Kenya is the immediate southern neighbor of Ethiopia, the ancestral homeland of the coffee plant where it grows wild to this day, coffee was only brought to Kenya in the late 1800s. The particular strains of coffee introduced to Kenya, however, were transplanted from the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) in the Indian Ocean, where Ethiopian coffee plants had mutated into the distinct Bourbon variety. In Kenya, these varieties were referred to as French Mission and Scottish Mission, after the missionaries who brought them to Kenya in hopes of developing a viable cash crop.