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Africa: Coffee, from import to export 0

Africa is a key source of coffee for the world. And the East African countries of Kenya and Uganda have been growing a lot of that coffee for decades. You would assume then that the average Kenyan and Ugandan are long-standing connoisseurs of coffee. Not until recently.

Before the 21st century, the average Kenyan and Ugandan was a tea drinker. A few non-conformists drank imported instant coffee, Nescafe being a favourite.

Of course, citizens of the Horn of Africa nation of Ethiopia could only shake their heads in pity. The country prides itself as the origin of coffee. Its people have a generations-old coffee ceremony. But generally in Ethiopia you are served one type of coffee: black and strong.

Now Kenya and Uganda are offering a more sophisticated coffee experience. They have moved from being only exporters of coffee. The change began in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in 2000, when a new shop served a menu of gourmet coffee in a tastefully done cafe. Today Nairobi boasts of three locally-owned and managed chains serving espressos, lattes, macchiatos, and mochas. The Ugandan capital, Kampala, is going through a similar change. Cappucino is no longer a foreign word in Kampala or Nairobi.

By Tom Maliti for Vita/Afronline

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