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If you are like me, coffee is a must. I’ll never go more than one day without my morning cup of joe! But when it comes to the best coffee brands, there’s no shortage of options. African coffee is one of the best.
But what makes African coffee different from other coffee in the world? Which African coffee is the best? And what are the main coffee regions responsible for its coffee production?
If you’ve ever asked yourself those questions keep reading. Because, by the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of the best African coffee out there.
African Coffee – Tops Picks
- Top Pick: Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffee
- Smooth And Complex Flavors: Tanzania Peaberry
- Full Bodied And Rich Flavor: Kenya AA
- For A Smooth Espresso: Cooper’s Single Origen Rwanda Coffee Beans
African Coffee. What Makes It Unique?
African coffees are known for their full-bodied and sweet taste.
The region’s high altitude, humidity, and rich soil provide a natural habitat for coffee plants with ideal conditions for quality beans.
The volcanic soils found in Africa are rich in minerals, which imbue excellent flavors into their beans.
African coffees are also well known for their vivid notes, such as dark chocolate flavor with hints of fruits like berries, bergamot, or citrus.
Of all the coffee varieties, arabica beans are the most popular on this continent, and each country has its own unique flavors and specialty coffee.
African Countries That Produce Coffee
Coffee is grown in many different countries across Africa such as
- and many more
The three countries that produce the most coffee in Africa are Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan. With a total of 20% of all African-grown coffees coming from these three countries alone!
Each country has its own unique specialty coffee that differs from the next. Their Specialty grade is affected by the growing conditions such as altitude and soil type.
Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of African coffee. It’s also considered the home of coffee arabica, one of the most popular coffee beans in the world.
The beans are usually grown at regions with altitudes above 1,600-2,000 meters above sea level. This is what gives them their distinct flavors and aroma.
Most Ethiopian coffees have a medium body and their flavor profiles can be described as fruity or citrus notes, dark chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
In Ethiopia, the main regions that produce coffee are the highlands. Regions like Sidamo, Harrar, Jima, and Yirgacheffe.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is medium-roasted, that offers notes of bright citrus and a sweet lemon tea finish.
A cup of Yirgacheffe coffee has a balanced body with hints of warm fruitiness. This makes this African coffee a great choice to enjoy at any moment.
The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is consistently ranked as one of the best African coffees in the world.
If you are a regular coffee drinker of this African coffee you might agree that the aroma and flavor of Yirgacheffe are unmistakable.
These are organic and fair-trade beans with a remarkable chocolaty and smoky taste. Delightful acidity and exotic flavor.
This is a medium-light roast Arabica bean that produces distinctively floral and fruity notes.
If you want to try some of the best African coffee, this is definitely worth a shot!
This African coffee is a medium-dark roast with vibrant chocolate notes and a nutty finish. it’s known for its heavy body and mild acidity.
A cup of Ethiopian Harrar will have hints of vanilla beans and cocoa powder, giving it a sweet finish that you’ll love and enjoy.
This medium-light roast Harrar coffee is made from shade-grown long berries, which are the largest and preferred size for Harrar coffee.
The beans are highly rated and have tropical fruit and chocolate notes which you’ll definitely love!
Kenyan coffees are known for their fruity aroma, which is the result of the altitudes and soil from which the coffee cherry is grown.
A cup of Kenyan coffee will have hints of cocoa powder and flavors of sweet cherry with a full body and robust flavor.
Most coffees are grown by small farmers who own less than five acres of land. The beans produced by these Kenyan coffee farmers are then traded at the auction system in Nairobi once a week.
The Kenyan coffee industry is mainly focused on a variety of Arabicas and Robusta beans for domestic consumption and export.
Kenyan coffees are usually used in blends, such as Kenya AA and AB.
- Kenya AA is a higher-rated coffee
- Kenya AB is more suited for blending.
Kenya AA Coffee
Kenya AA coffee is a medium-light roast that has a full body with a pleasant taste and vibrant acidity.
It has a flavor profile with notes of raspberry, cranberry, and some hints of flowers. It is considered one of the best coffee in the world.
This is a medium-light roast coffee with the bright flavors and acidity associated with Kenyan coffee.
If you’ve never tried Kenyan AA coffee, we’d recommend this brand. Its fruity aroma and floral notes are sure to keep you coming back for more.
Tanzanian coffee is mainly grown in the southern region, around mount Kilimanjaro. This zone has the perfect combination to grow coffee due to its high altitude and rich soil.
There are several varieties of coffee grown in this region, but the most popular coffee is the Tanzanian peaberry.
Tanzania Peaberry coffee
The Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee is grown in the rich soils of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is a type of high-quality Arabica that resembles grape seeds due to its unique shape and size.
The peaberry grows at around 4,600 feet above sea level, which allows for slow maturation. This slow development is what produces a wonderfully complex sweetness associated with this coffee.
These African coffee beans have been ranked as one of the best coffees in the world by many experts due to their unique taste profile.
Tanzania coffee production focused mainly on Arabica coffee beans, and robusta.
This is a smooth, light-roast coffee that has wonderful taste.
This Peaberry coffee has bright complex flavors with notes of black tea, peach, and lemon.
Its rich body and fragrant aroma put it among the finest African coffees around!
Definitely worth a try!
Burundi produces about 12 million pounds of coffee per year. The country’s specialty is high-quality Arabica coffee with pleasantly sweet flavors, full-body, and low acidity.
Coffee in Burundi is grown by small farmers, with small-scale production and high-quality standards.
In total, Burundi produces about four percent of Africa’s coffee output.
Burundi’s Best Coffee
The region’s best coffee is grown in the Kirundo province.
Arabica is grown at higher altitudes with rich soil and moderate rainfall which create the ideal climate for the cultivation of high-quality Arabica beans.
Another popular coffee cultivated in Burundi is the Bourbon (which is a variety of arabica). It has an amazing buttery chocolate taste with light fruity notes and a wonderful sweetness.
Overall, Burundi-produced coffee is well known for its subtlety and richness.
This award-winning coffee is single-origin, has a rich body, sweet berry taste, and is slightly acidic.
Barbarossa Burundi is a medium-dark roast that has a jasmine hibiscus aroma that will make a pleasant brew every time!
Rwandan coffee is cultivated by small-scale producers and grows in rich volcanic soil at altitudes of around 4,000 to 6,500 feet above sea level.
Available as a single-origin or blend, the taste is fruity with hints of berry, and a citrus aroma that is particularly refreshing.
The main coffee-producing regions are Kigali and Gisenyi, both with rich and fertile soil that produces an intense flavor profile.
The main varieties of Rwanda coffee are Arabica, Bourbon, and Caturra, which comes from a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety.
Due to the high altitude, the beans are dense, but coffee roasters manage to get a balance of body, acidity, and sweetness to create the perfect cup.
These African coffee beans are single-origin and fair trade. A medium roast that has a vibrant bold taste, perfect for a smooth espresso, with an amazing texture.
Its flavor notes include rich caramel, ginger snap, and a refreshing lemon finish.
Coffee production in Uganda was established as early as the 1800s, and currently, there are around 20,000 hectares planted.
The main varieties of Ugandan coffee are Arabica and Robusta. These come from an old variety that was brought to the area by Italian colonialists.
The best beans come from areas such as Bigisu, Kirehe, and Kirinya due to their rich soil and good conditions for growing high-quality Arabica crops.
The majority of coffee is produced by small farmers, and it’s grown in hilly, mountainous regions.
The farmers produce them on small plots of land that provide a better opportunity for higher-quality crop than larger holdings.
The Ugandan coffee flavors are described as fruity, citrusy, and with a hint of chocolate.
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This coffee is grown in the Bugisu region of Uganda. Every cup is filled with the bold, earthy flavor and subtle notes of chocolate and caramel.
If you are looking for an incredibly smooth coffee flavor with low acidity, this might be the perfect match for you.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo
The first commercial coffee plantation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was established in 1895, and the first harvest was in 1906.
Today, the DRC is the second-largest producer of coffee in all African countries! Its main areas of production are the North Kivu and South Kivu provinces (which are high-altitude regions).
The two main types of coffee beans produced in the country are Arabica and Robusta, and they’re described as having fruity flavors with a subtle chocolatey finish.
This organic Congo Kivu coffee is a mild bourbon coffee that has sweet citrus notes, light acidity, and a syrupy body.
The coffee roasters also use an environmentally friendly method to reduce the coffees carbon footprint.
African Coffee Beans – The Bottom Line
If you’ve never tried African coffee before, now is your chance! You will have a different experience every time because the taste of each one varies from country to country.
A cup from one region might be fruity and nutty while another could be smooth with hints of dark chocolate or cinnamon.
Tell us your favorite type in the comments below!
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Idalmis is co-owner of Coffee Break Lovers. She is a Cuban coffee enthusiast that is passionate about coffee and coffee culture.