Still life photography of hot coffee beverage with map of DR Congo on a bed of roasted coffee bean

Democratic Republic of the Congo

HISTORY

Despite being the fourth most heavily populated country and the second largest nation in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo lacks an established infrastructure for roads, and potable water and electricity is scarce, all of which has restricted the development of agricultural industries such as coffee. The specialty coffee that is grown here has established itself from Robusta coffee and only now is high-quality Arabica coffee emerging.


In common with other African nations, European colonists introduced coffee to the region, using local labor to tend the fields of their large plantations. The elimination of price controls in the early 1980s created opportunity and chaos, removing the monopoly previously enjoyed by the Office National du Café but with associated volatile market and fluctuating prices. Coupled with this, a transition from large plantation based coffee farming methods to those consisting of thousands of smallholder farms struggling to gain traction in the market and manage their own land added to the turmoil of the time. Political and economic unrest over the past few decades has made growing and sourcing specialty coffee very challenging. Projects, organizations, and cooperatives are actively working to improve infrastructure in order to bring high-quality lots to the international market.


Coffee is grown throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo's seven provinces although most of what is grown is either full Robusta or not specialty quality. However, the future is looking promising for Congolese coffee with greater investment and direct-sourcing projects helping to boost the overall profile and availability of specialty coffee.



Overview

GROWING REGIONS

Ituri, Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu


COMMON VARIETIES

Bourbon, Bourbon Mayaguez, and other Bourbon derivatives


PROCESSING METHODS

Washed


HARVEST PERIOD

March - July (main)

September - January (fly)