The following post is part of a series that discusses the coffee industry landscape in a particular region of the world, and the opportunity for development of the Newbeans CTAPS (Coffee Tasting and Profiling System) there.

Through this series, we explore the viability of creating and developing a global web-based, green bean purchasing ecosystem, like the Newbeans CTAPS.

Africa’s Coffee Boom


Africa is traditionally known as a coffee producing and exporting region, but the recent years have given consumption a boost as well.

Several countries on the continent, which gave birth to the coffee bean now grown worldwide are experiencing booming domestic consumption and developing their own unique coffee culture.

With the exception of a handful of countries, such as Ethiopia, coffee has historically been a cash crop in Africa and consumption has been low. In countries such as Kenya and Uganda, coffee has been dwarfed by a preference for tea, which has traditionally been much cheaper.

Trends show that demand from Africans have grown in the recent years, based on numbers taken from Financial Times data, as of 2015:

  • INCREASING DEMAND: Coffee demand in Africa has risen about 20% in volume in the five years to 2014.
  • CONSUMPTION STILL LOW: Despite the recent growth in coffee drinking, African consumption is still low compared with other countries. Ethiopians are drinking 2.5kg per person a year, Madagascar 1.28kg, and Ivory Coast 0.8kg, according to Ecobank. This compares to 6.2kg for Brazil. The ICO estimates that Italians drink about 5.8kg while Britons consume 2.8kg a year.
  • PRODUCTION SLOWING DOWN: While consumption is growing, production is slowing down. Generally known for the fruity and complex flavours of its beans, the continent used to be a leading grower, with eight African countries in the world’s top 20 producers during 1965 to 1988, says the ICO. Since then, this has fallen to four.
  • ETHIOPIA / UGANDAN BEANS STILL KING: Apart from Ethiopia and Uganda, coffee production on the continent has slumped, although it still produces some of the world’s finest coffee, with beans from some plantations commanding rich premiums.
  • NEW FLAVOURS INTRODUCED: A growing trend worldwide is some roasters are turning to Africa for new flavours. After four years of working with farmers in South Sudan, Nespresso, the premium coffee arm of the Swiss consumer group, this month launched a new coffee from the beans from the country’s first ever exports.On the next part of our Coffee Around the World Series, we tackle the thriving coffee culture in Asian countries.
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