What are the main African countries producing robusta coffees?

Robusta coffee is the second most produced variety of coffee, behind Arabica.

While some feel it's not as good as this one, it's still the best option for making Italian espresso, due to its characteristic color and thick, dense foam.

We will give you an overview of what African robusta coffees are and where they come from. This can help you go against the general opinion and let yourself be tempted by a sip of this variety that is more surprising than you think.

Origins and characteristics

Coffee belongs to the Rubiaceae flower family. Then come the “Coffea Arabica” and the “Coffea Canephora” of which the Robusta is the most widespread variety.

Robusta coffee beans originated in Africa and have been grown there for centuries. The name "robusta" comes from the Italian word "robusto" which means "strong", because it is more resistant than its arabica cousin.

It is often considered to be of lower quality due to its bitter taste and earthy aroma. It is stronger in taste and contains twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee, i.e. 3% on average. However, there are varieties of premium coffee beans that can provide a unique and out-of-this-world taste experience.

Robusta around the world

In 2020, robusta coffee accounted for 40% of world coffee production with 70 million 60 kg bags.

The main producers are Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia, Uganda and India. Together, these countries account for more than 70% of world production. Vietnam is by far the largest producer, producing around 40% of the world's robusta.

Other producing countries include Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Malaysia, Thailand and Honduras.

The main African producing countries: top 5 robusta coffee producing countries

Despite the efforts put in place by the various governments for processing and roasting, African countries mainly export green coffee beans (unroasted).

Distribution of robusta coffee in Africa

1. UGANDA: 5.65 million bags [of 60 kg] - 70% of production

East Africa is the production leader thanks to Uganda. This variety represents the vast majority of its production with 80% of the volume, the rest being dedicated to Arabica.

In terms of global robusta production, Uganda is the second largest producer after Vietnam. The East African nation is the eighth largest coffee producer in the world and the second in Africa after Ethiopia.

Ugandan Robusta coffee is often considered to have a milder and more aromatic taste than other Robustas.

Uganda is indelibly inscribed in the history of coffee because it is one of the original countries of Robusta.

2. THE Ivory Coast: 1.77 million bags [of 60 kg] - 22% of production

In West Africa, Robusta is almost exclusively grown there, especially in Côte d'Ivoire with 20% of African production.

Côte d'Ivoire was for a long time one of the world leaders in the production of green coffee. After gaining independence in 1960, coffee production peaked in the 1970s when it became the world's 3rd largest producer. In the 80s and 90s, Ivorian producers gradually abandoned coffee in favor of cocoa, which was much more profitable, the country thus becoming the leading cocoa producer.

Côte d'Ivoire coffee is mainly produced in the mountainous regions located in the center and west of the country. The main coffee producing areas in Côte d'Ivoire are the regions of Daloa, Man, Soubré, and Yamoussoukro.

Flavor: Côte d'Ivoire grain is often described as having a strong, full-bodied and slightly bitter flavor, with hints of chocolate and fruit.

Body: It generally has a thicker, more robust body than Arabica coffee, making it a popular choice for coffee blends.

The quality of Côte d'Ivoire Robusta has improved in recent years due to better crop management and optimized processing methods.

Ivorian coffee is often considered one of the best in West Africa due to its rich, full-bodied flavor with flavors of fruit and chocolate.

3. The Democratic Republic of Congo: 300,000 bags [of 60 kg] - 4% of production

Production in Central Africa has been in decline for several decades. The Democratic Republic of Congo with 4% of the production volume is one of the few major players in the region.

Robusta is also grown mainly in the northeast and southwest regions of the country.

Flavor: Grain produced by the Democratic Republic of Congo often has a full-bodied flavor, with hints of nuts, dried fruits and sometimes vanilla.

Body: it has a thick and robust body, typical of robusta varieties.

The quality of robusta coffee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo can vary widely, but has improved in recent years through better crop management and investment in processing infrastructure.

4. CAMEROON: 280,000 bags [of 60 kg] - 4% of production

Along with the DRC, Cameroon is the other player in the production of robusta in Central Africa. Cameroon is also known for producing quality robusta;

Flavor: Cameroon grain is often described as having a nutty flavor with hints of chocolate and dried fruit. It may also have a slight acidity.

Body: It generally has a thicker, fuller-bodied body than Arabica coffee, making it a popular choice for coffee blends.

5. TANZANIA: 274,000 bags [of 60 kg] - 3% of production

Tanzania only dedicates 30% of its national production to robusta, the rest being dedicated to the production of arabica coffee. Its production represents about 3% of African production.

Tanzanian coffee is often considered for its medium roast flavor which gives off an aroma with floral notes accompanied by hints of citrus, pineapple and coconut. The aroma of a coffee from Tanzania can have a rustic note and sometimes a sweetness of brown bread. The aftertaste lingers with a slight suggestion of East African savagery.

The Mbeya region, located in southwestern Tanzania, is known for producing some of the best robusta coffees in the country. These coffees are often grown in harsh conditions, on steep slopes and nutrient-rich volcanic soils, which gives them a unique flavor.


Robusta varieties are present in different regions of the African continent. This diversity of origin has a positive impact on the diversity of tastes and flavors of the grains. So coffee lovers, let's get things straight, robusta coffee can have pleasant surprises in store for you, far from the low-end image that it is often given.

However, it is important to note that the quality of the coffee also depends on the agricultural and processing practices used by the producers. Therefore, it is always recommended to seek quality coffees from reputable or artisan sources to ensure the quality of the product.

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