Coffee trends revive African industry


Bloomberg reports that customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity flavors, are driving purchases of coffee from the continent where the drink is said to have originated.

"I take Kenyan coffee every morning. I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons," said Julien Ochala, a physiology lecturer at King’s College London.

Today, a cup of Kenyan coffee costs roughly $4, compared with about $3 for a standard Americano from Starbucks in London. The renewed interest may be a blessing for African farmers, where output is about three-quarters of what it was four decades ago.

“Ethiopian beans have been known in the West for a long time, but now we are seeing more Rwandan, Kenyan and even beans coming from Burundi, Uganda and Congo. African beans may also seem exotic to some coffee drinkers and that piques their curiosity,” said Karl Weyrauch, the founder of Seattle-based Coffee Rwanda, a supplier of Rwandan beans to the American market.

The trend bodes well for Africa on the global marketplace. African growers of robusta, the cheaper variety favored for instant drinks, have found it hard to compete as major producer Vietnam boosted output at much lower cost. Brazil also provided more competition for medium-quality arabica beans. (Source: Bloomberg News))

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