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From History to Quality: The Booming South African Coffee Industry

The South African Coffee Industry: From History to Quality

Coffee has become an essential part of modern life for millions of people worldwide. Given our fast-paced lifestyle, the ability to get a quick energy boost from a cup of coffee has made it a go-to drink for many people.

South Africas coffee industry has a fascinating history, a current thriving industry, and competitive specialty coffee offerings. Let’s dive into the details.

History of Coffee in South Africa

The story of coffee in South Africa began in the mid-17th century, when the Dutch East India Company brought Arabica coffee plants from Yemen to the Cape of Good Hope. It took nearly twenty years before the coffee made its way to the eastern coast and southern KwaZulu-Natal province.

In the early 18th century, British traders introduced the first instant coffee made from powdered coffee beans. This coffee didn’t gain much popularity in the country until the mid-19th century when entrepreneur TW Beckett & Company established a coffee roasting house in Durban.

Current State of Coffee Industry in South Africa

The local coffee industry has undergone roller coaster developments in recent years. Nestle, a multinational company, has become a market leader by acquiring local coffee brands such as Ricoffee and Boncafe.

Today Entyce Beverages, one of the local coffee giants, is responsible for bringing international brands such as Lavazza, Shmoozies, and Starbucks to the South African Market.

Specialty Coffee in South Africa

The coffee snob market is growing in South Africa, and specialty coffee is the next big trend. Local artisanal coffee roasters like Foghound Coffee Company are a perfect fit for this market.

The Foghound Coffee Company’s Instagram account posts artistic images of unique coffee blends, including crazy blends like the Chocolate Waffle Cone blend, which boasts a mix of El Salvador Pacamara coffee beans, 70% Dark chocolate, and hazelnut syrup.

Production of Coffee in South Africa

South Africa produces about 31.5 million kilograms of coffee beans annually, primarily grown in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Robusta and Arabica beans are the two main coffee varieties produced in South Africa.

The quality of local coffee beans directly depends on the correct farming and harvesting practices used by farmers to achieve peak ripeness to produce high-quality coffee beans.

Type of Coffee Beans Grown in South Africa

Robusta coffee beans make up the majority of South Africa’s coffee beans compared to Arabica beans. They grow better in the country’s warmer regions, making up around 70% of the local coffee output.

Though low in acidity, Robusta’s deep flavors are preferred in darker roasts and instant coffee blends. In contrast, Arabica beans account for only around 30% of the country’s coffee production.

The mild and sweet taste of Arabica beans, which are top-quality and hand-selected, is gaining popularity in the South African market.

Quality of South African Coffee

South Africa is known for producing some of the world’s best avocados, grapes, and cherries. The same quality can be seen in the country’s coffee beans, particularly when correct farming and harvesting practices are followed.

The maturity of the coffee plant at the time of harvesting, the ripeness of the cherries at the time of picking, and the beans’ processing can all affect the final quality of the coffee produced. In conclusion, the South African coffee industry has a rich and unique history and is continuously evolving, with quality local brands producing coffee that rivals top international brands.

The specialty coffee market is also booming, and local coffee roasters like Foghound Coffee Company are creating unique blends to satisfy the palette of even the most demanding coffee connoisseur. South Africa is not only gifted in producing excellent fruits, but also quality coffee.

South African Coffee Brewing Tips: A Guide to Brewing Your Own Coffee

Theres nothing quite like starting your day off with a delicious cup of coffee. The South African coffee industry has gained attention worldwide for its quality coffee beans and unique blends.

Brewing coffee can be an art, and there are different methods to explore. Weve rounded up some ways to help you brew a cup of South African coffee that meets your personal taste preferences.

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is an excellent option for hot summer days. It is refreshing and can be served over ice with or without dilution.

To make a smooth and flavorful cold brew, you need coarse coffee grounds and cold water. Use a 1:4 coffee to water ratio, put the mixture in a container, and leave it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Once the coffee has brewed, use a filter or cheesecloth to separate the grounds from the liquid. If you prefer creamy coffee, consider adding a cream alternative, such as almond milk, to the cold brew.

For a sweeter taste, you can add vanilla syrup or another sweetener of your choice.

French Press

The French press is a consistent favorite for coffee lovers worldwide. With this method, you start by adding coarse coffee grounds to the press, then pouring hot water over it.

The ratio of coffee to water should be one tablespoon of coffee for every 4 ounces of hot water. Wait four minutes for the coffee to steep, then push the plunger down slowly.

If you prefer a stronger coffee, opt for darker roasts like South Africa Blend, which has a strong and bold taste. The French press is easy to use and is perfect for those who like a fuller-bodied coffee with some texture.



Chemex method is unique for its all-glass construction and special filter. It produces a clean, smooth, and delicate taste that appeals to coffee aficionados.

To make a perfect cup of coffee with a

Chemex, you need a half-pound of coffee and a

Chemex coffee filter. Start by boiling water, let it cool for a few minutes, then wet the filter with the hot water.

Add the coffee grounds to the filter, slowly pour the hot water over the coffee in a circular motion, and let it steep for a few minutes. Do this until you have reached your desired volume.

Using this brewing method, you can taste the full flavor of the coffee beans.

Stovetop Espresso Maker

A stovetop espresso maker, also known as a Moka Pot, is a classic way to make coffee with a distinct taste. This method uses pressure to make coffee, similar to how a traditional espresso machine works.

You can use either a gas or electric plate to make your coffee. Begin by adding water to the bottom compartment of the Moka Pot, add the coffee grounds to the middle section, and screw the top section of the pot.

Heat the Moka Pot on low heat and wait for the coffee to start flowing. With this method, you can easily create a shot of espresso or strong coffee depending on your preference.

Notably, there are several different varieties of coffee and espresso makers, including those constructed of pyroceramic, that will produce a unique coffee flavor all your own.

Future of South African Coffee Industry

The South African coffee industry is well-positioned to keep growing and prospering. While local coffee makers primarily export their coffee beans to other countries, the domestic South African market is growing at a significant rate.

The specialty coffee industry, in particular, shows promising growth for the future with its ever-increasing popularity and consumption. South Africa’s unique and ideal climatic conditions provide the right environment for the coffee plant to thrive and produce top-quality beans.

With the ever-growing demand for specialty blends, local coffee producers are expected to increase yields, supplying even more world-class coffee varieties for consumers both locally and abroad. In conclusion, the South African coffee industry is a promising sector with a bright future.

There are several brewing methods to explore to enjoy the full flavor of South African coffee beans – from cold brew to

Chemex – so theres a range of flavors to discover. Additionally, as we look ahead to the future of the South African coffee industry, we can expect even more focus and innovation on delivering unique coffee blends that will satisfy a broad range of palettes worldwide.

In conclusion, the South African coffee industry has a rich history and an exciting future, with quality local brands producing coffee that challenges international competitors. There are various brewing methods for those who want to discover the unique flavors of South African coffee beans, from classic French press to modern cold brew.

As the demand for specialty coffee increases, South Africa’s ideal climatic conditions are expected to make it a major player in the global coffee industry. With a bright future ahead, the South African coffee industry is undoubtedly one to watch.

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