By Innocent Anguyo and Isis Almeida | Bloomberg News
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe.
But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at $22 a pound, it’s more than double a similar supermarket product.
“I take Kenyan coffee every morning,” said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. “I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons.”
Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity flavors, are driving purchases of coffee from the continent where the drink is said to have originated. One legend has it that Ethiopian goat herders discovered the plant more than a thousand years ago. Today, a cup of Kenyan coffee at Monmouth costs roughly $4, compared with about $3 for a standard Americano from Starbucks Corp. in London.