Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to American Samoa

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If you're an expat living in the beautiful country of American Samoa, you will soon realize that coffee plays a significant role in daily life and social interactions. From early mornings to late nights, locals gather in cafes to savor their favorite brews, unwind, and connect over a cup of coffee. In this guide, we offer insights and tips for expats seeking to immerse themselves in American Samoa's coffee culture. So, grab a cup of locally grown coffee and let's delve into the world of coffee in American Samoa.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Locally grown coffee beans are a key component of American Samoa's coffee culture. While some expats may be accustomed to importing coffee from their home country, we recommend trying locally sourced beans as a way to connect with the local community and support local farmers. Coffee cultivation in American Samoa is typically a family operation, and many farmers follow traditional farming practices passed down through the generations.

Some of the key regions renowned for coffee cultivation in American Samoa include Tutuila, the main island, and Swains Island. Tutuila is the largest of the English-speaking Samoan islands, and has a climate conducive to coffee cultivation. Swains Island, located nearly 4,000 km northeast of Honolulu, is also known for its coffee production.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

American Samoa's coffee culture boasts a diverse array of coffee-style drinks, catering to a range of preferences. Here are a few popular coffee styles for expats to discover and enjoy:

  • Kafalata: A traditional coffee brewed using finely ground coffee beans, water, and a cluster of coconut shells. The cluster is suspended over the brew, allowing the aroma to waft up during the brewing process.
  • Kopi Baru: A specialty coffee produced from semi-roasted coffee beans. Kopi Baru has a rich, earthy flavor and is often enjoyed as an afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Mocha: A blend of coffee, chocolate, and milk, popularized by American coffee chains. Mocha is a popular choice among expats seeking a sweet, indulgent treat.
  • Ice Coffee: A refreshing way to enjoy coffee during the tropical climate of American Samoa. Ice coffee can be enjoyed with a range of syrup flavors, including vanilla and hazelnut.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee culture is deeply ingrained in daily life and social interactions in American Samoa. For expats seeking to immerse themselves in the local coffee scene, here are a few customs and traditions to follow:

  • Respect local customs: Coffee is often enjoyed alongside local delicacies such as taro chips, coconut-laced baked goods, and traditional Samoan fare. Show respect for local customs by serving yourself and others, and always ask permission before partaking in communal coffee gatherings.
  • Meeting and greeting: Coffee drinking is often a social event, providing opportunities to connect with local communities through coffee gatherings. Be aware that American Samoa's coffee culture prioritizes relationship building, so take the time to get to know your coffee companions.
  • Coffee etiquette: In traditional coffee gatherings, such as the kavalulu ceremony, it is customary to consume only a small cup of coffee in one sitting. Savor the coffee slowly, and take the time to appreciate its rich, earthy flavor.
  • Coffee Beans: American Samoa's coffee beans are often sold in local markets as souvenirs, and make a perfect gift for coffee lovers back home. Support local farmers by purchasing locally sourced beans, and take the time to learn more about the coffee cultivation process.

Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cultural Experiences

Here are some recommendations for expat-friendly coffee shops and cultural experiences that cater to diverse tastes and preferences:

  • Java Daybreak: A cozy coffee shop located in Pago Pago, serving a range of coffee styles and traditional pastries. Java Daybreak is a popular spot for expats seeking to connect with locals on coffee-centered gatherings.
  • KIT: An organization dedicated to promoting local coffee varieties, as well as education and employment opportunities for coffee farmers. KIT provides opportunities to learn about traditional coffee cultivation techniques through cultural workshops and coffee-centered events.
  • Tutuila Brewing: A locally owned brewing company featuring a range of locally sourced beers and coffee blends. Tutuila Brewing provides opportunities to sample locally sourced coffee beans in unique and innovative ways.


Navigating American Samoa's coffee culture is a journey of discovery, offering opportunities to connect with local communities, learn about traditional coffee cultivation techniques, and immerse oneself in the vibrant coffee scene. By revering local customs and traditions, and savoring the rich, earthy flavors of locally sourced coffee beans, expanding your palate and immersing yourself in American Samoa's coffee culture can be a rewarding and delicious experience.