Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Gabon

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Welcome expatriates to the vibrant coffee culture of Gabon! Whether you're new to the area or a seasoned traveler, this guide is designed to help you immerse yourself in Gabonese coffee traditions and customs. From understanding coffee origins and production to exploring favorite coffee styles and traditions, we've got everything you need to know to make the most of your coffee journey in Gabon.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Gabon is home to a number of coffee-growing regions, including the Haut-Ogooue province and the Moumbengou region. These regions are renowned for their high-quality coffee beans, which are grown under ideal climatic conditions. While some coffee is imported from neighboring countries, locally grown beans are highly prized for their rich and complex flavors.

Coffee production in Gabon involves a labor-intensive process that begins with hand-picking the coffee cherries from the tree. The cherries are then washed, dried, and carefully sorted to ensure the best beans are selected for processing.

One of the key advantages of Gabon's coffee culture is the emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Many coffee farms use organic methods and fair trade principles to ensure that farmers and communities are fairly compensated for their efforts.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Gabon is famous for its diverse array of coffee style drinks, which reflect the country's unique cultural heritage. Here are just a few of the most popular brews and blends you should try:


The Rivière is a traditional Gabonese brew that features a uniquely strong flavor profile. This coffee is made by steeping roasted coffee beans in hot water for several hours, producing a rich and concentrated brew.


The espréso is a popular coffee style drink that can be found in Gabon's cafes and coffee shops. This is a strong and concentrated brew that's perfect for savoring during the day, and can be enjoyed with a range of sweet or savory accompaniments.

Café Plage

Café Plage is a unique blend that's renowned for its unusually complex flavor profile. This coffee is made by blending beans grown at different elevations, creating a rich and complex taste that's perfect for sipping on the beach or in the park.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee drinking is an important part of Gabonese culture and daily life, with traditional rituals and customs playing a significant role in local coffee culture. From brewing methods to serving etiquette, here are a few tips to help you embrace Gabon's coffee traditions:

The Coffee Ceremony

The coffee ceremony (also known as la gourde) is a traditional ritual that's often performed during social gatherings and special occasions. This ceremony involves a number of steps, including grinding the beans, boiling the water, and serving the coffee in a traditional ceramic pot.

Coffee Etiquette

When enjoying coffee in Gabon, it's important to respect local coffee customs and etiquette. Here are a few tips to help you savor your coffee and connect with the Gabonese community:

  • Always accept coffee when it's offered, as refusal may be seen as impolite.
  • Sip the coffee slowly and mindfully, taking care to appreciate its rich and complex flavors.
  • Throughout the coffee ceremony, it's important to maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor, allowing the coffee to be enjoyed in peace.
  • If offered a second helping, it's polite to accept, but remember that Gabonese coffee is often served in large portions.

Coffee Social Spots

One of the best ways to experience Gabonese coffee culture is by visiting one of the country's many coffee shops and cafes. Here are a few recommendations for expat-friendly spots that cater to divers tastes and preferences:

  • La Petite Maison, Libreville. This popular cafe is known for its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, as well as its delicious coffee and pastries.
  • Café Cyberginc, Libreville. This stylish cafe is a great spot for expats looking for a modern and tech-savvy coffee experience, with free Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets for charging devices.
  • Café Le Diamant, Franceville. This traditional Gabonese cafe is renowned for its coffee ceremony, as well as its delicious breakfast items and savory snacks.

Whether you're new to Gabon's coffee culture or a seasoned traveler, it's important to approach coffee drinking with an open mind and a willingness to learn. By respecting local customs and traditions, you'll be able to connect with the Gabonese community in a meaningful and authentic way.