The Caribbean has a long history of coffee production, particularly on islands with high mountainous regions and cool climates. Though they are outpaced in modern times by coffee plantations in Latin American countries, Caribbean islands have unique soils and growing conditions that contribute to some of the most popular coffee varieties sold in worldwide markets. 

Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark, slightly acidic flavour prepared from the roasted seeds or “beans” of the coffea plant. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in:

  • equatorial Latin America
  • Southeast Asia
  • South Asia and Africa

Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world and in 2005 it was the world's seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value.

Coffee is produced in more than 60 countries. The world's annual production is currently around 115 million 60-kg bags or 7 million tonnes.

There are two types of coffee:

  • Arabica coffee, the fine flavoured aromatic type, makes up 60-65% of the total production and usually fetches the highest prices
  • Robusta, is easier to produce and is more resistant to disease. Around 75% of all coffee is exported worldwide

According to the FAO, world coffee production was projected to grow by 0.5% annually between the period 1998/2000 to 2010, compared to 1.9% in the previous decade. The world's largest coffee producing region is likely to continue to be Latin America and the Caribbean.

Current Situation

A study by Landell Mills Development Consultants on the promotion of a regional agribusiness sector showed that Haiti and Jamaica were the two largest producers of coffee with production of approximately 35,000 and 12,411 metric tons, respectively in 2008.

Other CARICOM countries’ production in metric tonnes in 2008 was:

  • Guyana - 370
  • Trinidad and Tobago - 225
    Belize - 100
  • Dominica - 65

Although output from Jamaica represents a small percentage of global production, the beans are well known for their exceptional quality and Blue Mountain coffee commands extremely high prices.


Business Case

Why invest in coffee?

  • Establishing quality standards in Caribbean countries who produce coffee, can further create premium products
  • The global demand for coffee, especially in the U.S. and Canada can be capitalised on
  • Adequate branding and up to date websites can further push local coffee products

Coffee Producers



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