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Nigerian Coffee Guide: History, Flavors & Brewing Tips

Nigeria flag on coffee beans

When discussing coffee in Nigeria, you’ll find people are not as addicted to the hot beverage as they are in other parts of the world.

But while drinking coffee may not be a way of life for Nigerians, they still use the growing of coffee as a source of income. Let’s take a deeper look into Nigerian coffee and learn more about its flavors and brewing methods.

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The History of Nigerian Coffee

In the 19th century, coffee was introduced to the people of Nigeria. During the initial phase, coffee was a great source of income for local farmers. In the 1930s, the government even stepped in and provided these farmers with both arabica and robusta beans in an attempt to help the production of these caffeinated beans flourish. While this assistance worked for a while, in less than 100 years, the production of coffee in Nigeria began to fall and is currently nowhere near as lucrative as it once was.

ceramic mug and coffee beans
Image Credit: SvenHilker, Pixabay

Do They Still Grow Coffee in Nigeria?

Although it may not be the most popular drink in the area, that doesn’t mean it is not grown there. Roughly 90% of Nigeria’s coffee is of the robusta type. It is also mostly grown in the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna. When it comes to exporting, however, you can’t call this venture a main resource. In the past, coffee exports were decent, but over the years, things have depleted quite a bit in Nigeria. Now, only 14 states are known for coffee production. The farms in these areas have combined their resources and work together in hopes of making a profit from a dying resource in their area.

Most coffee farms are considered depleted. The plants are aging and not producing as well as they once did. The soil is also losing its nutrients. Another issue seems to be a lack of skill. Farmers who understood the coffee trade are no longer sharing this way of life with the generations that follow. This leaves coffee as a crop most are now avoiding.

What Coffee Is Most Popular in Nigeria?

As we’ve mentioned, robusta is the most-grown coffee in Nigeria, but what is the most popular coffee in the area? The answer may surprise you. Nescafe is the dominator when it comes to coffee consumption in this country, a market that is still in its infancy. Due to the high cost of high-quality coffee, most people simply prepare instant for themselves. While Nescafe is the go-to for Nigerians, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy branching out and enjoying a better coffee.

Unfortunately, for the country, Nescafe does not use Nigerian coffee beans to make their instant coffee. In fact, most of the coffees enjoyed by the people of Nigeria are imported, making it even more difficult for local coffee farmers to survive. This has left the people of Nigeria using frothing methods and additional flavors they can find to improve the taste of their instant coffee each morning.

coffee beans in sacks
Image Credit: Robert Gunnarsson, Unsplash

Kaldi Africa

While things may look dire for coffee lovers in Nigeria, not all hope is lost. Kaldi Africa is a local roastery and coffee bar that is dedicated to bringing life back to Nigeria’s coffee scene. By promoting only quality flavors and beans, this company is also stepping up to help local coffee farms prosper once again. By investing in machinery to promote better production, they hope to breathe life back into these failing farms.

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In Conclusion

While Nigerian coffee may not have a rich history and is currently struggling, that doesn’t mean things can’t change. While entities like Kaldi Africa are trying to bring coffee production back to the forefront in this country, it will take time. Hopefully, as time goes on, the Nigerian coffee trade will rise and possibly surpass its difficult past and current situations.

Featured Image Credit: BERMIX STUDIO, Shutterstock


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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