Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Central African Republic

Image for Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Central African Republic

Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Central African Republic. As a coffee enthusiast living in Central African Republic, you may be wondering how to immerse yourself in the local coffee scene. Well, look no further! This guide aims to provide you with insights and tips on coffee origins, favorite coffee styles, and embracing coffee drinking customs and traditions in Central African Republic.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

While coffee is enjoyed worldwide, there's no denying that coffee tastes better when it's grown locally. Central African Republic is no exception, and many expats have discovered a rich array of locally grown beans that far surpass imported varieties.

Coffee farming takes place in various regions of Central African Republic, the most significant being Ombella M'Poko, Ouham, and Lobaye. These regions are renowned for their fertile soil, high altitudes, and favorable climates that foster exceptional coffee beans.

These locally grown beans are sold in specialty coffee shops and cafes across Central African Republic, providing exceptional flavor profiles that are unique to the region's growing conditions. Expats who prefer locally grown beans should take advantage of opportunities to explore coffee plantations and farms in these regions.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Coffee styles that dominate the Central African Republic coffee scene include Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica.

  • Arabica: Arabica beans offer a subtle and elegant flavor, making them the preferred choice for coffee lovers in Central African Republic. Arabica beans are grown in milder climates and generally preferred for their lower acidity and smooth taste.
  • Robusta: Robusta coffee beans thrive in warmer climates, making them the preferred choice for many Central Africans. Robusta coffee delivers a strong, earthy flavor, and many expats prefer Robusta for its bold taste.
  • Excelsa: Excelsa coffee beans are grown in Ombella-M'Poko and possess a unique, woody flavor that's distinctly Central African. Excelsa beans grow in nutrient-poor soil, leading to a complex, full-bodied flavor that will leave you wanting more.
  • Liberica: Liberica beans originate in the Philippines, but Central African Republic has adopted this unique coffee, known for its mild, sweet taste. Liberica coffee is grown in high altitudes, making it a rare treat. If you're an expat who enjoys trying new coffee styles, Liberica is a must-try.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee drinking customs and traditions are deeply ingrained in Central African Republic's culture, serving as an integral part of daily life and social interactions.

Coffee is more than just a drink; it's an occasion. People in Central African Republic spend time enjoying coffee with friends, family, or colleagues, savoring each sip and engaging in lively conversation.

During social gatherings, serving coffee is a mark of hospitality, and refusing a cup of coffee is considered rude. The role of coffee as a social glue is apparent in the traditional coffee rituals that take place during these gatherings.

Taking time to appreciate coffee exemplifies the Central African ethnic philosophy that recognizes and respects the environment's sacrosanctity, including coffee in this regard. This facet melds tradition with new trends to create a coffee culture that's both ancient and modern.

Coffee Rituals and Etiquette

Central African Republic's coffee rituals are an intrinsic part of local culture. From the selection of beans to the manner of brewing, preparing, and serving coffee, there are many authentic and traditional customs to observe.

Here are a few examples of traditional coffee rituals and etiquette that you may encounter:

  • Coffee Selection: When selecting coffee beans, the Central African Republic community pays attention to aroma, taste, and texture. They prefer coffee beans that possess a sweet aroma, an earthy taste, and a lingering aftertaste.
  • Grinding: The grinding process is critical, and Central African Republic expats prefer hand grinding their beans to preserve essential flavors and aromas.
  • Brewing: Brewing coffee is a delicate process that serves as a testament to the coffee's quality. Traditional methods include pour-over, French press, and Turkish coffee, where coffee is served in small, decorative cups. Automated coffee makers are prevalent in urban cafes, but they're not as popular in rural areas.
  • Serving: The manner of serving coffee determines its taste and aroma. Central Africans prefer serving coffee in traditional coffee pots (fetrah) or cups (makahuwa). These utensils have intricate designs and patterns etched into their surfaces, making them an essential element of coffee culture. It's common to serve coffee with traditional accompaniments like Mbongo (peanuts) or Pringa (roasted shelled beans).
  • Cleaning: It's essential to clean and maintain traditional brewing equipment to preserve essential flavors, aromas, and textures. Clean the pot and necessary utensils after each brewing session, and wash the coffee pot (Fetrah) with pure water before brewing.

Coffee Drinking etiquette

Central African Republic's coffee drinking etiquette emphasizes respect and appreciation, making coffee drinking a social activity, not a personal indulgence.

As a guest, you should adhere to the following coffee drinking etiquette to show respect and appreciation:

  • Say Two Words: Before drinking, say "Mama. Mama" to display gratefulness to the host.
  • No Spitting: Avoid spitting coffee grounds or dregs as they may offend the host.
  • No Adding Sugar: It's impolite to add sugar or milk to coffee. Central Africans prefer drinking pure coffee.
  • Drinking Slowly: Savor each sip, take your time, and enjoy the flavors and aromas.
  • Leaving a Little Coffee: Leave behind a little coffee to show that you've enjoyed the beverage and the hospitality.
  • Refusing is Rude: Refuse coffee only when you're physically incapable.

Recommended Coffee Shops and Cafes in Central African Republic

Central African Republic has a growing number of coffee shops and cafes that cater to diverse coffee preferences. Expats living in Central African Republic can find coffee establishments that sell authentic, locally grown coffee beans.

  • Delicia Patisserie - Bangui, Central African Republic - Delicia Patisserie is a popular coffee shop located in Bangui that offers an extensive range of coffee drinks and pastries. The coffee beans are locally grown, and Delicia Patisserie prides itself on preserving the region's coffee culture.
  • Caffè Sicilia Espresso il Caffè - Bouarf, Central African Republic - Caffè Sicilia Espresso il Caffè offers authentic Italian coffee drinks using locally sourced Arabica beans. Caffè Sicilia Espresso il Caffè aims to merge European and Central African Republic coffee culture, creating a unique and exceptional coffee experience.
  • Kintu Fruit Garden and Cafe - Bangui, Central African Republic - Kintu Fruit Garden and Cafe is a unique coffee shop located in Bangui. The cafe offers locally grown coffee beans, arranging coffee plantation tours for coffee enthusiasts. Expats can enjoy coffee in a serene garden setting, surrounded by lush vegetation.


In conclusion, Central African Republic's coffee culture is diverse, rich, and unique, highlighting the importance of preserving traditional rituals and customs while embracing new trends. This guide has hopefully shed light on coffee origins, coffee styles, coffee drinking customs and traditions, and recommended coffee shops and cafes. We hope this guide has offered practical insights, tips, and recommendations that will help expats optimize their coffee drinking experiences while respecting local traditions.