As coffee gains favour worldwide, its consumption is only ever-growing. The Perfect Daily Grind's report on coffee consumption found that the global market was expected to total 170.3 million 60kg bags in 2022, with Europe and North America accounting for half of the total use. In particular, people passionate about coffee are considering speciality-grade coffee, also known as "gourmet" coffee.
The Specialty Coffee Association's grading scale highlights how this coffee is grown in optimal conditions and cared for by farmers to be sold at a premium price. For quality coffee, indigenous communities are becoming reliable sources— allowing people worldwide to have sustainable options and support local farmers. Listed below are four indigenous coffee products you have to try that are available in the UK.
The origins of commercialized arabica coffee can be traced back to Yemen as early as the 15th century when most trades passed through the port of Mokha. As the beginnings of coffee, it has also become the namesake of different inventions such as mocha, chocolate-flavoured coffee, and the Moka pot. Depending on the time of day, Yemen drinks coffee in several ways, such as the kisher or qishr, less caffeinated coffee, or ginger coffee mixed with cinnamon and other spices.
In recent years, Yemeni-American coffee entrepreneur Mokhtar Alkhanshali organized the National Yemen Coffee Auction in London. This event supported Yemen farmers in connecting with coffee connoisseurs and businesses, enabling them to set higher prices than on a traditional market. This also allows them to earn without growing khat— a narcotic that would have otherwise been their cash crop.
Benguet coffee originates from the northern part of the Philippines. For over 80 years, the indigenous community of Igorot people has cultivated the Typica variety from the Arabica species. Depending on your preferences, Benguet coffee can come in medium and dark roasts as well as a selection of flavour blends like vanilla and caramel. These are often sold through drip coffee bags or single-single pour-over coffee— making them a simple but affordable way to enjoy a freshly brewed cup without needing a coffee machine or elaborate equipment. In London, Muni Coffee Company has integrated Benguet coffee as a critical part of their menu to support indigenous farmers.
Vietnam is the world's biggest producer of Robusta coffee, producing nearly $31.1 billion worth of coffee exports in the first nine months of 2022. This has continued to supply the European market, which consumes coffee at a 39% rate worldwide. In particular, the European market drinks coffee at a 39% rate worldwide. The UK is its fifth-largest coffee consumer, seeing as much as a 13.6% increase in coffee imports from 2021 to 2022.
However, compared to well-liked arabica coffee, robusta produces a smoky, bitter taste when brewed. To make up for the flavour, the Vietnamese have taken unique approaches to their coffee-drinking culture, with many adding sweetened condensed milk and other ingredients such as egg yolks. In most cases internationally, robusta is used to make instant coffee. On the other hand, brands like Black Insomnia and Death Wish are taking advantage of the coffee's high-caffeine content as part of their business.
While fair-trade coffee has become the standard for supporting farming families, mass farming can make it challenging to improve environmental sustainability efforts. But in the case of the indigenous Mayni community in Peru, they are able to cultivate organic, shade-grown coffee within the Amazon rainforest without clearing the land. Rather than maximizing yields and income, Peruvian farmers work hand-in-hand with UK coffee roaster Easy Jose Coffee Roasters to produce coffee in the most sustainable way. Given the rising interest in speciality coffee, these smaller-scale productions also have become economically sustainable– providing the farmers with a viable way of life.
If you're interested in learning more about coffee, make sure to visit James Hoffman and Professor Tim Spector's discussion on its implications on health and nutrition.
Written by Aleah Kristen Caple
Exclusive for gaggiadirect.com
Hello, my name is Raj Beadle. I am the author of this blog. I am the owner and managing director of Caffe Shop Ltd - Gaggia UK. We represent Gaggia spa in the UK and are the exclusive distributor of Gaggia in the UK. We also directly retail via our website www.gaggiadirect.com and also through our own retail shops.