Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Liberia

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Are you an expat living in Liberia, looking to explore the rich coffee culture of this West African nation? Look no further. In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to immerse yourself in the local coffee scene.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Before diving into the world of coffee drinking in Liberia, it is essential to understand where the beans come from. Coffee is grown in several regions of Liberia, with the mountainous regions of Bong, Nimba, and Gbarpolu being the most productive. These areas have the perfect climate and soil conditions to produce high-quality coffee beans.

It is crucial to note that locally grown coffee beans can make a significant difference in taste and flavor profile compared to imported varieties. Liberian coffee has a unique flavor profile that can vary depending on the region. This means you might want to explore coffee plantations and farms to understand the nuances of Liberian coffee.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Now that you have some insight into the coffee origins let's look at the different coffee-style drinks that are popular in Liberia.

Traditional brews

Traditional brews are a prominent feature of Liberian coffee culture. Some of the drinks you should try include:

  • Kanka: Kanka refers to fermented palm wine. Some Liberians add coffee grains to the wine, making it a refreshing coffee beverage.
  • Kolo: Kolo is made by boiling green coffee beans until they turn yellow. The beverage is then served hot.
  • Kaveh: Kaveh is made by mixing coffee and hot water with a dose of sugar or honey. This drink is often served in traditional coffeehouses.

Specialty blends and popular coffee beverages

Liberia has embraced the global coffee trend, with specialty coffee shops and cafes becoming increasingly popular. You should try the following coffee-style drinks:

  • Cappuccino: A classic espresso-based coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
  • Latte: Similar to a cappuccino, a latte is made with espresso, steamed milk, and a bit of foam.
  • Mocha: Mocha is made by combining coffee, chocolate, and milk.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee has a significant cultural significance in Liberia, and it plays a crucial role in daily life and social interactions.

Coffee ceremonies, where families gather to drink coffee together, are an essential part of Liberian culture. These ceremonies are an opportunity to bond, share stories, and enjoy each other's company.

Coffee customs

Some coffee customs that you might encounter as an expat include:

  • Pouring coffee over both hands to demonstrate hospitality and the value of the guest.
  • Drinking coffee while seated in a circle around a fire to facilitate social interaction and communication.
  • Adding various items to coffee to enhance its flavor, such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, or pepper.

Coffee etiquette

Respecting local coffee customs and traditions is essential to fitting in as an expat in Liberia. Here are some practical tips:

  • Avoid making negative comments about the coffee, as this can be perceived as a personal insult.
  • Listen to the coffee host's instructions on how to enjoy the coffee.
  • Do not leave before finishing the coffee, as this demonstrates a lack of respect and hospitality.


Coffee has a special place in Liberian culture, and it has the power to connect expats with local communities and provide authentic cultural experiences. By understanding the coffee origins, traditional brews, customs, and etiquette, you will be better equipped to immerse yourself in Liberia's unique coffee culture.

To help you get started, we recommend the following expat-friendly coffee shops and cafes:

  • Coffee Mill: A cozy coffee shop in Monrovia that offers a variety of coffee-style drinks and pastries.
  • LibLand Café: Located in Paynesville, LibLand Café is perfect for expats seeking a laid-back atmosphere and authentic Liberian coffee.
  • Kona Coffee House: Situated in the Duala community, Kona Coffee House is ideal for expats who want to experience Liberian coffee in a traditional setting.

By embracing the rich coffee culture of Liberia, you are enriching your expat experience and gaining insights into the local culture. Enjoy your coffee journey in Liberia!