In the world of coffee enthusiasts, exploring diverse and unique flavors is an adventure that takes us to different corners of the globe.
Africa, with its rich history and varied landscapes, has become a prominent player in the coffee industry.
In this post, we explore 9 African coffee brands that are loved by coffee enthusiasts across the globe for their vibrant and unique flavors.
We’ve also included a comprehensive buyer’s guide, offering insights into choosing the perfect African coffee that suits your preferences.
9 Best African Coffee Brands: At A Glance
- Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee: Best Overall
- Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection: Best From Ethiopia
- Safari Pride Coffee Dr Congo Lake Kivu: Best From Congo
- Volcanica Tanzania Peaberry Coffee: Best From Tanzania
- Douwe Egberts Pure Gold: Best From South Africa
- Good As Gold Burundi Mugano Coffee Beans: Best From Burundi
- Cubico Coffee Rwanda Kopakaki Coffee: Best From Rwanda
- Safari Pride Coffee Uganda Bugisu: Best Coffee From Uganda
- Grand Parade Malawi Geisha Reserve: Best From Malawi
1. Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee: Best Overall
Kenyan coffee stands out as a top choice for both coffee enthusiasts and experts.
Its unique blend of robust and intricate flavors, coupled with a velvety smoothness, makes it a favorite.
Volcanica’s Kenya AA coffee, in particular, is celebrated for its full-bodied richness, lively acidity, delightful aroma, and lingering wine-like aftertaste.
The folks at Volcanica Coffee Roasters excel in bringing out the best in Kenyan beans, opting for a medium roast that beautifully balances the flavors.
This results in a drink that offers a variety of flavors while maintaining a well-rounded profile.
Grown in the mountainous regions of Kenya with volcanic, loamy soil, this coffee is famous for its bright and tangy taste.
The AA designation signifies the highest grade, determined by the size, shape, and density of the beans.
The careful processing ensures a top-quality product, marked by sharp acidity, a bold and substantial body, and subtle fruity notes that contribute to a complex sweetness and a robust aroma.
Thriving at elevations between 1,500 to 2,000 meters, this coffee is among the world’s best, boasting a diverse range of flavors influenced by the region, varietal, and processing methods.
Typically wet-processed, the beans undergo meticulous harvesting, immediate extraction from cherries, and washing to eliminate excess pulp.
While it may not be the most budget-friendly Kenyan coffee, its exceptional taste justifies the cost.
Plus, there’s a 10% discount on any bag when you opt for Volcania’s subscription plan.
- Renowned for complex and strong flavors
- Smooth and well-balanced medium roast
- Grown in Kenya’s mountainous regions with volcanic, loamy soil
- AA designation indicates the highest grade
- Carefully processed for top-quality product
- Bright acidity, bold body, hints of fruit for a complex sweetness
- Thrives at elevations between 1,500 to 2,000 meters
- Wet-processed for a clean and refined taste
- Not the most budget-friendly Kenyan coffee
2. Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection: Best From Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection is a special and limited-edition coffee from Lifeboost Coffee.
Having explored various Ethiopian coffees, we’ve developed a fondness for the naturally processed ones, and this Lifeboost Luxe stands out as the best Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee on our list.
What makes it unique? Well, the natural processing imparts strong and rich flavors to every brew, creating a rounder and fuller taste profile compared to washed processes.
Notably, it’s a single-estate coffee, ensuring that you experience the full flavor from a single crop on a single farm.
Tasting notes of florals, strawberries, and peaches are not just claims—they shine through in every cup, regardless of your preferred brewing method.
Lifeboost goes the extra mile to ensure quality.
They certify all their coffees with Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and USDA Organic.
Additionally, third-party testing for mycotoxins, heavy metals, and other toxins guarantees a pure product.
Their TRUSTPURE process further ensures the healthiest, tastiest, low-acid beans from farm to cup, promoting a happy gut for repeated coffee enjoyment with the added health benefits.
Another one of the highlights is Lifeboost’s commitment to freshness.
Coffee beans are freshly roasted and immediately packaged for shipment, ensuring you always receive a bag of aromatic and freshly roasted beans.
The only catch is the premium price, making it an ideal choice for special occasions when you want to treat yourself to a truly exceptional cup.
- Natural processing for strong and rich flavors
- Single-estate coffee for a full and distinct taste
- Tasting notes of florals, strawberries, and peaches
- Certifications: Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic
- Third-party tested for mycotoxins, heavy metals, and toxins
- TRUSTPURE process for healthy, low-acid beans
- Freshly roasted and immediately packaged for shipment
- Aromatic and fresh coffee experience
- Premium price point
3. Safari Pride Coffee Dr Congo Lake Kivu: Best From Congo
Safari Pride’s medium roast from the Congo is a prime example of exceptionally smooth and delightful coffee.
Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Safari Pride Coffee is a passionate gourmet roaster offering a diverse range of single-origin African coffees sourced from the equatorial bean belt, known for its ideal climate and rich volcanic soils.
Committed to sustainability and ethical practices, Safari Pride partners with eco-friendly farms, employs direct trade practices for fair farmer compensation, and gives back to African communities.
Their Dr Congo Lake Kivu, a premium single-origin roast from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kivu region, epitomizes these values.
Grown by sustainable farmers and co-ops practicing ethical farming, it features a medium roast, bright citric acidity, and a full body with fruity chocolate notes.
This versatile coffee suits various brewing methods like pour-over, cold brew, or espresso.
Safari Pride takes freshness seriously, roasting and shipping in small batches even through platforms like Amazon, ensuring a consistently fresh and flavorful brew.
Available as pre-ground or whole beans (opt for the latter if you have a grinder), this coffee is an investment in quality.
While it leans towards the pricier side, the exceptional quality justifies the cost.
- Silky smooth medium roast
- Gourmet coffee roaster specializing in African single-origin coffees
- Equatorial bean belt sourcing for optimal cultivation
- Strong emphasis on sustainability and ethical practices
- Medium roast with bright citric acidity and fruity chocolate notes
- Versatile for pour-over, cold brew, or espresso
- Small-batch roasting ensures freshness
- Available as pre-ground or whole beans for flexibility
- Higher price point, reflecting premium quality
4. Volcanica Tanzania Peaberry Coffee: Best From Tanzania
Tanzania Peaberry Coffee is crafted from a special type of coffee bean known as peaberries.
These beans, formed when a single oval bean develops instead of the usual paired flat-sided ones, contribute to an even roast, making peaberry coffee a sought-after choice with distinct characteristics.
It’s crucial to note that peaberry coffee doesn’t inherently surpass or fall short; it merely offers a different coffee experience.
Grown on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Tanzania, these beans thrive in rich volcanic soils and an ideal climate, resulting in a coffee with a rich, intense aroma and a full-bodied taste.
Expertly medium-roasted, the Tanzania Peaberry Coffee from Volcanica showcases bold flavors of dried fruit, dark chocolate, and orange, accompanied by floral notes reminiscent of wine.
Sourced from the Nitin Estate in the Ngorongoro Crater, this single-estate micro-lot coffee by Volcanica Coffee is certified Kosher, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ Certified.
Offering versatility, it comes in whole beans and various grind options, including drip, espresso, and French press sizes.
Roasted in small batches for optimal freshness, Volcanica ensures a delightful coffee experience.
However, it’s worth noting that some may find the roast a bit too dark for their taste, and there might be a slight lack of complexity and flavor depth for some palates.
- Unique peaberry coffee experience
- Rich volcanic soils and ideal climate for intense aroma and full body
- Medium roast with bold flavors: dried fruit, dark chocolate, orange
- Floral notes similar to wine enhance the taste profile
- Sourced from Nitin Estate, a single estate micro-lot
- Certified Kosher, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ Certified
- Available in whole beans and various grind options
- Roasted in small batches for freshness
- Some may find the roast too dark
- Slight lack of complexity and flavor depth for certain tastes
5. Douwe Egberts Pure Gold: Best From South Africa
Douwe Egberts is a renowned South African instant coffee brand known for its diverse coffee blends conveniently packaged in resealable jars.
Among their offerings, Douwe Egberts Pure Gold stands out – an instant coffee meticulously crafted from the finest beans, roasted to perfection, resulting in a medium and well-balanced flavor profile.
Appreciated for its aromatic and harmonious qualities, Douwe Egberts Pure Gold is a versatile choice suitable for any time of the day.
Each jar yields approximately 120 cups, making it a practical option for a quick caffeine boost or a casual ‘tea break’ at work.
Available in sizes like 6.7oz/190g and 7 oz jars, as well as 400g packages, this instant coffee caters to various preferences.
Considered a palatable choice with a manageable bitterness, Douwe Egberts Pure Gold appeals to those seeking a convenient and consistently enjoyable coffee experience.
For those with a preference for a darker and richer option, Douwe Egberts also offers the Pure Indulgence Dark Roast, characterized by a velvety body for a smooth drinking experience.
However, it’s worth noting that the Pure Indulgence Dark Roast might be on the stronger side, making it a potential challenge for beginners in the realm of coffee drinking.
- Diverse coffee blends in resealable jars
- Pure Gold: Instant coffee with well-balanced flavor
- Aromatic and suitable for any time of the day
- Each jar makes approximately 120 cups
- Available in various sizes: 6.7oz/190g, 7 oz jars, and 400g packages
- Palatable with tolerable bitterness
- Convenient and consistent coffee option
- Velvety body for a smooth drinking experience
- Pure Indulgence Dark Roast might be too strong for beginners
6. Good As Gold Burundi Mugano Coffee Beans: Best From Burundi
Good As Gold’s Burundi Mugano Coffee Beans feature subtle notes of tangerine, figs, and bright acidity that smoothly round off.
Sourced from the high-altitude Mahonda washing station in Burundi, these beans, cultivated by a group of approximately 40 farmers, benefit from the extended maturation period at this elevation.
This process results in more complex sugars, contributing to the coffee’s natural sweetness.
Available in a light/medium roast and air roasted, these beans are recommended to be ground as close to brewing as possible, ensuring optimal freshness.
It’s crucial to match the grind of the coffee to your chosen brewing method for the best results.
As part of the Good As Gold Coffee Roasters lineup, these Burundi Mugano Coffee Beans are conveniently packed in a 12oz bag of whole beans.
While they offer a rich and flavorful experience, some customers have expressed concerns about the coffee not tasting as fresh as expected.
- Flavorful profile with tangerine and fig hints
- Bright acidity and smooth body
- Sourced from high-altitude Mahonda washing station in Burundi
- Cultivated by around 40 farmers
- Extended maturation at high elevation for complex sugars
- The natural sweetness in the coffee
- Light/medium roast, air-roasted for freshness
- Recommended grinding close to brewing, matches various brewing methods
- Some complaints about freshness issues
7. Cubico Coffee Rwanda Kopakaki Coffee: Best From Rwanda
Explore the unique flavors of Cubico Coffee’s Rwanda Kopakaki, a single-origin coffee cultivated in the Karongi District of western Rwanda.
Over 800 small farmers, united in the Kopakaki cooperative, meticulously grow this coffee at altitudes ranging from 1500 to 1800 meters above sea level.
The beans undergo a full washing process, reflecting the cooperative’s commitment to Fair Trade practices, ensuring transparency and fairness in their growing community.
Certified Fair Trade, the coffee offers a full-bodied taste with delightful notes of black tea and limeade, concluding with a winey finish.
Roasted to a medium to medium-light level, it excels in both pour-over and French press preparations.
Cubico Coffee takes pride in small-batch roasting, with each bag signed and dated by the roasters to guarantee freshness.
Packaged in a vacuum-sealed 16oz. bag, the whole beans maintain their optimal flavor.
While the preferred choice is the whole bean variety for a unique mouthfeel and flavor combination, a capsule option is also available for added convenience.
However, it’s essential to note that using a capsule may compromise the depth of flavor, muting some of the distinctive notes.
Nevertheless, for sheer convenience, capsules remain a competitive option.
If the idea of a lemon-lime coffee with a wine finish intrigues you, the Rwanda Kopakaki is worth a try.
- Grown in Karongi District by 800+ small farmers in the Kopakaki cooperative
- Altitude: 1500-1800 meters, fully washed process
- Certified Fair Trade, ensuring transparency and fairness
- Full-bodied taste with black tea and limeade notes, winey finish
- Medium to medium-light roast suitable for pour-over or French press
- Small-batch roasting, each bag signed and dated for freshness
- 16oz. whole bean coffee in a vacuum-sealed bag
- Available in whole bean or convenient capsule format
- A little on the pricey side
- Not the most robust choice
8. Safari Pride Coffee Uganda Bugisu: Best Coffee From Uganda
Safari Pride’s Coffee Uganda Bugisu is another premium single-origin coffee cultivated by villagers in the nutrient-rich volcanic loam of Uganda’s Bugisu region.
This coffee boasts a smooth, medium roast, offering delightful tasting notes of fruits, nuts, and chocolate.
Whether you prefer drip coffee, cold brew, or pour-overs, these vibrant roasts consistently deliver a smooth and satisfying experience.
Safari Pride prioritizes sustainable and ethical farming practices, incorporating renewable energy sources and minimizing herbicide and pesticide use.
They collaborate with sustainable farmers and co-ops, ensuring fair compensation for the highest quality beans.
Proud of their commitment to freshness, Safari Pride’s roasters promptly ship the coffee in packaging designed to preserve its bold flavor shortly after roasting.
The coffee is available in both whole beans and ground options.
However, it’s important to note that the only drawback is the premium price associated with this high-quality coffee.
- Grown by villagers in nutrient-rich volcanic loam
- Smooth and satisfying medium roast
- Tasting notes of fruits, nuts, and chocolate
- Versatile for drip coffee, cold brew, and pour-overs
- Embraces sustainable and ethical farming practices
- Ensures fair pay for the highest quality beans
- Roasters prioritize freshness standards
- Available as whole beans or ground
- Premium price point
9. Grand Parade Malawi Geisha Reserve: Best From Malawi
Grande Paredé Coffee’s Malawi Geisha Reserve is a single-origin Arabica that’s all about delivering excellence.
This specialty grade AA coffee is cultivated by members of the Mzuzu Co-operative in the Chitipa District of Malawi, along the picturesque shores of Lake Malawi.
Beyond its outstanding taste, this coffee reflects the co-op’s commitment to rural and social development, prioritizing improvements in food and housing security as well as education.
The flavor profile of this coffee is a delightful mix of berry, peach, key lime, honey, and cocoa.
Available as unroasted green coffee beans, this allows you the flexibility to roast it to your preferred level, catering to your unique taste preferences.
Not only does this coffee promise exceptional taste, but it’s also Fair Trade and Direct Trade Certified, ensuring ethical sourcing.
However, it’s worth noting that the main downside lies in its availability only in larger 3 and 5-pound bags.
This might suit avid fans of the coffee but for those discovering they don’t enjoy its flavor, unfortunately, you’re going to end up having a bunch of coffee you don’t want to drink.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that the coffee, while top-tier, comes with a higher price tag.
- Specialty grade AA from Mzuzu Co-operative in Malawi
- Grown along Lake Malawi for complex flavors and sweetness
- Co-op focuses on rural and social development
- The flavor profile includes berry, peach, key lime, honey, and cocoa
- Available in unroasted green coffee beans
- Flexibility to roast to personal taste preferences
- Fair Trade and Direct Trade Certified for ethical sourcing
- Only sold in larger 3 and 5-pound bags
- Comes with a higher price tag compared to some alternatives
Buyer’s Guide For Choosing The Best African Coffee Brands
Having explored our top choices for the best African coffees, it’s now time to embark on your coffee exploration journey.
For those seeking additional information, here’s a brief overview.
Who Should Try African Coffee?
African coffee is celebrated for its unique flavors, perfect for those who relish fruity or floral notes in their cup.
With Africa being a vast continent offering a myriad of coffee flavors, you might uncover your favorite single-origin and even create your custom blends.
You can even impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of the diverse coffee landscape.
Beyond its delightful taste, African coffee is often linked to health benefits, boasting antioxidants that may contribute to reducing the risk of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
If you appreciate both flavor and potential health perks in your coffee, exploring African coffee is a worthwhile venture.
However, if you lean towards a more traditional or classic coffee flavor profile, African coffee might not align with your preferences.
What Are The Major Growing Regions in Africa?
Africa boasts major coffee-producing regions, each contributing distinct flavors to the global coffee scene:
- Ethiopia: Renowned for its full-flavored, down-to-earth, and robust coffee beans, Ethiopia holds the title of the largest African producer of Arabica coffee. It’s the birthplace of the Arabica coffee plant.
- Kenya: With its high-altitude terrain, Kenya stands as a significant coffee-producing country, yielding some of the world’s finest coffee beans.
- Rwanda: Focused on high-quality coffee production, Rwanda has established itself as another major player in the African coffee scene.
- Tanzania: As the largest of the East African countries, Tanzania is celebrated for its high-quality coffee beans.
- Uganda: A newcomer in the specialty coffee industry, Uganda has swiftly gained recognition for its unique flavors and premium-quality beans.
These countries, joined by others like Burundi, Malawi, and Zambia, collectively contribute to the thriving coffee culture in Africa.
Remarkably, Africa’s coffee production constitutes 12% of the global coffee bean output, with Ethiopia and Uganda leading the way, accounting for 62% of coffee bean distribution.
What Is The Strongest Coffee In South Africa?
Black Insomnia Coffee takes the crown as the strongest brew, proudly marketed as the world’s mightiest.
Roasted right in South Africa, this robusta bean coffee packs a punch with a whopping 57mg of caffeine per cup – the pinnacle of caffeination.
To put it in perspective, it’s nearly three times stronger than Starbucks’ Dark Roast and over six times more potent than your average cup of joe.
Another contender, 7th Psychopath Coffee, also throws its hat into the ring, claiming to be the strongest worldwide, crafted by a group of caffeine enthusiasts from South Africa.
However, the official title of the world’s strongest coffee rests with Black Insomnia Coffee, backed by independent testing and as recognized by the Caffeine Informer website.
The Final Verdict
We crown Volcanica’s Kenya AA Coffee as the best African coffee overall for its exceptional quality, boasting a rich body, vibrant acidity, and a distinctive winy aftertaste.
Grown in Kenya’s mountainous regions with volcanic soil, this medium-roast gem reflects the highest grade (AA) and meticulous processing, resulting in a coffee that’s bright, bold, and complex.
While not the most budget-friendly, its deliciousness and well-rounded profile make it worth every sip.