Darren Stevens continued to shine in between the rain at Chelmsford as Kent ended a shortened second day on 214-5.
Having taken four wickets to help dismiss the hosts for 212 on Wednesday, all-rounder Stevens made a superb 91 not out to help Kent battle back from 43-4 in their first innings.
The 37-year-old certainly seems to have a liking for playing at Essex's home - he made 119 not out at the same ground 12 months ago and also reached three figures in a first-class fixture at the venue in 2010.
Stevens shared a fifth-wicket stand of 145 with Ben Harmison as the pair dug in after a disastrous start to the day for Kent, who had resumed in the morning on 20-1.
Left-arm pace bowler Reece Topley struck twice in his opening four overs, bowling Brendan Nash before then getting Michael Powell caught at second slip by Tom Westley.
Ravi Bopara chipped in with the wicket of Sam Northeast, caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper James Foster, as Essex sensed the chance to gain a crucial first-innings lead.
Their hopes, however, hit a sizeable stumbling block in the form of the alliance between Stevens and Harmison, with the latter taking 43 balls just to reach double figures.
Essex used six bowlers in their attempts to separate the pair before Ryan ten Doeschate, playing in his first match for the county since returning from IPL duty, had Harmison caught behind for 55.