Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to French Guiana

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Welcome expatriates to the fascinating world of coffee culture in French Guiana. Whether you're new to the region or a seasoned expat, this guide is designed to provide you with practical insights, tips, and recommendations for immersing yourself in French Guiana's unique coffee traditions.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

French Guiana is located in South America, and while it's not a producing country, coffee is still an essential part of its culture. Locally grown beans are highly prized, and many expats recommend trying them over imported varieties. French Guiana's coffee bourbon is a must-try; grown in the forests around Kourou, it has a rich aroma and bold flavor notes.

Coffee is primarily grown in the North-west of French Guiana, in the communes of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock. During harvest season, which runs from July to October, local farmers invite visitors to join them in picking coffee cherries and learn more about the growing process.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

French Guiana's coffee culture is diverse, and locals enjoy a wide range of coffee styles and drinks. One of the most popular is café crème, a thick, creamy café au lait that's prepared by adding steamed milk to an espresso shot. Café noisette is another popular drink - a small cup of coffee with a touch of warmed milk added.

For those with a sweet tooth, the café au lait du Guiana is the perfect choice. Made with cocoa powder, nutmeg, and sugar, it's a deliciously indulgent treat, best enjoyed with a croissant or pain au chocolat.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee drinking customs and traditions are deeply ingrained in French Guiana's culture, and expats should be aware of the etiquette and rituals associated with enjoying a cup of coffee in social settings.

Coffee is usually consumed in the morning or mid-afternoon as an aperitif, and drinks are served with petit fours or small pastries. During social events, coffee is served after the meal, as part of the 'mise en bouche' - a series of small courses before the main meal.

Coffee is often consumed in cafes in French Guiana, known as cafés-hôtels. Here, expats can experience authentic coffee culture, observe local customs, and learn more about the region's unique coffee traditions. Some popular cafés-hôtels in French Guiana include Le Caméléon, Le Relais Beach, and Le Chalet.


In conclusion, French Guiana's coffee culture is rich and diverse, reflecting the region's unique history and heritage. Expats are encouraged to embrace this culture fully, respecting local customs and traditions, while also exploring their preferred coffee styles and experiences. From locally grown beans to traditional rituals, there's something for everyone, and with this guide, you're well-equipped to explore French Guiana's vibrant coffee scene.

Expat-friendly Coffee Shops and Cultural Experiences

For expats looking to discover French Guiana's coffee culture, here are some recommendations:

  • Café du Mato Ekulé: Located in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, this café-hôtel offers a range of locally grown coffee blends and traditional cultural experiences.
  • Café Noir: Situated in Kourou, this café-hôtel is renowned for its lively atmosphere, Wi-Fi access, and kid's play area.
  • Café Mamy Guorou: Located in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, this café-hôtel serves traditional café au lait and café crème, along with a range of locally baked pastries and croissants.
  • Coffee Tour St. Laurent Reserve: For those interested in learning more about coffee farming and production, this tour offers insights into the growing process, light refreshments, and a chance to sample locally grown beans.

These are just a few of the many coffee hotspots and cultural experiences that French Guiana has to offer. We hope this guide has given you a taste of French Guiana's vibrant coffee culture and inspired you to delve deeper into this fascinating world.