As we begin to explore the world through the lens of coffee flavors in different regions, we should start our journey with Africa. Africa is where the two most famous varieties of coffee, arabica and robusta, originated.
Historians of coffee popularization note that robusta cultivation dominated in the French colonies and that arabica coffee was a specialty of the British colonies.
The first recorded deliberate cultivation of coffee in Africa dates back nearly 2000,000 years. Legend has it that man discovered arabica coffee as a wild plant in what is now Ethiopia, and so Ethiopia became the legendary home of coffee and Africa the home of coffee. What is coffee to Africa? Africa is the world's second largest coffee-producing continent (after Asia). Coffee plantations in Africa cover a total area of more than 31 million km2. In comparison, the area of Poland is 312,679 km2. Coffee in Africa is grown in 25 countries and nearly 10 million farms earn their living from coffee cultivation. Most coffee lovers know Africa above all for its coffee from Ethiopia and Uganda. Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa, accounting for 39% of coffee production on the continent, Uganda is second at 23%, followed by Ivory Coast at 13%, Tanzania 6%, Kenya 5%, Madagascar 3% and Cameroon 3%.
Although both arabica and robusta coffee are native to Africa and both are called coffee, they are very different plants. Robusta is a withheld variety of coffee that grows very well at lower altitudes and in a wider range of climatic conditions. Arabica is a more demanding and sensitive variety that grows well at higher elevations and preferably in volcanic soil. In general, it can be said that robusta coffee is easier to grow, produces higher yields and is cheaper to process than arabica coffee. Robusta beans contain twice as much caffeine and antioxidants as robusta beans, hence the greater resistance of this plant to various diseases. Despite all these advantages, coffee made only from robusta beans is worse in taste, dominated by bitterness, herbal and earthy notes, while arabica contains much more variety of flavors.