What is robusta coffee?
Robusta coffee is the second most important coffee variety among all of coffee varieties. It is dominant in the quantity of 3 billion coffee trees grown around the world and in global coffee production. About 39% of coffee drinks are made of coffee robusta. And the world’s largest robusta coffee producer and exporter is Vietnam.
Robusta coffee in Vietnam
Nature gifted Vietnam the most ideal conditions and features to cultivate Robusta coffee. Tropical climate with average temperature of 29°C and high rainfall around the year, the highlands with the altitude between 600 and 1,000 meters and fertile soil are all the perfect factors for planting Robusta coffee. And Vietnam has all of them, which make the country become the number one name in exporting coffee Robusta.
Over the years, Vietnam always keeps the dominant position of the world’s second largest coffee exporter and the biggest Robusta coffee exporter. The main Robusta coffee importers of Vietnam include Germany (12,3% of market share, United States (12,2% of market share) Italy and Spain. These countries are the ones usually drinking espresso – the coffee that is thought to be made only by coffee Arabica but actually by the mixture of Arabica and Robusta with the rate of 60:40 or 70:30.
According to the data conducted by IFC, in the first quarter of 2012, the amount of Robusta coffee imported in United States increased 80% to the same time in 2011, while the coffee Arabica imported decreased 1/3 in amount. The trend of importing Robusta together with the trend of adding more Robusta in the coffee blending started to emerge in 2011, which showed the change of coffee drinking style around the world. This change made Vietnam as the world’s largest Robusta coffee producer high estimated. Some international coffee wholesalers opened their representative office in Vietnam.
Through 30 years of the wars and 20 years under the embargo policy of the United States, Vietnam started to join global trade in 1995. But after just 17 years, Vietnam became one of the leading countries in producing and exporting coffee. Buon Ma Thuot and other lands in Central Highlands are known for the largest areas of growing Robusta coffee in Vietnam. Nearly 90% of total areas for planting coffee in Vietnam are for cultivating Robusta.
Vietnam’s biggest drawbacks in producing coffee Robusta are inappropriate cultivating techniques, problem in harvesting coffee berries (which result in the messy mixture of both ripe and unripe berries), problems in drying coffee beans and storing and maintaining coffee beans. They are the reasons that cause the low price of Vietnam Robusta in the market.
Vietnam is trying to improve all the problems in order to develop coffee production and quality, especially coffee Robusta – the most important product in Vietnam’s coffee industry.