Bourbon and Typica compose the most culturally and genetically important groups of Arabica coffees in the world. Historically, coffee seeds were taken from the coffee forests of Southwestern Ethiopia to Yemen, where they were cultivated as a crop. Recent genetic tests have confirmed that Bourbon and Typica were the main seeds taken from Ethiopia to Yemen. From Yemen, descendants of Bourbon and Typica spread around the world, forming the basis of modern arabica coffee cultivation.
Coffee plays an important role in the Kenyan economy. This crop is responsible for 27% of all exports and it has a share of 50% of all agricultural production. Coffee was introduced in the region from Ethiopia via Aden at the end of the 19th century by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit Congregation. Later the St. Austin Mission introduced from the island of Reunion the Bourbon variety and at the beginning of the 20th century, the Kent variety being introduced from India.
Kenya’s main coffee cultivation area stretches from the slopes of Mount Kenya in the South until almost the capital; there is also a small growing region on the slopes of Mt. Elgon, on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Coffee is grown at high altitude, the most important regions being in the west: Kasii, Nyanza, Bungoma and Kakomanga. Whilst in the Rift Valley: Nakuru, Trans Nzoia, Kericho and Kajiado.