Robusta is Vietnam’s main exported type of coffee, contributing tremendously to Vietnam’s position of being the second largest coffee exporter in the world. With charming flavor and stable output, Vietnam fine Robusta has been a rising star in the coffee world, becoming global consumers’ solid favorite.
- 1 What is Vietnam fine Robusta?
- 2 The making process Vietnam fine Robusta
- 3 Growing regions of Vietnam fine Robusta
- 4 Why is Vietnam fine Robusta loved around the world?
- 5 K-Agriculture Factory – Leading Vietnam fine Robusta supplier
What is Vietnam fine Robusta?
Robusta is among the most signature lines of Vietnamese coffee grown, especially in the Central Highlands. Vietnam fine Robusta is a special Robusta product which is selected from 100% ripe Robusta coffee beans.
History of Vietnam fine Robusta
Originally, Vietnamese coffee trees, specifically Arabica, were first brought here by French missionaries and planted in several northern provinces in Vietnam in the period of colonialism. In 1908, Robusta and Exelsa were also introduced to the Vietnamese people and were mostly grown in the Central Highlands. Overcoming its ups-and-downs phase with the Vietnamese War, in 1987, many coffee-producing areas developed and coffee gradually became Vietnam’s key export commodity. Before that, the Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans production was only 18,400 tons (just over 300,000 bags of 60kg) compared to 1.812 million tons (30.2 million bags of 60kg) in MY 2019/20.
Characteristics of Vietnam fine Robusta
With less demanding growing conditions in comparison with Arabica, Robusta coffee plants can provide stable output for the production of Vietnam fine Robusta.
Vietnam fine Robusta is Robusta coffee harvested when the fruit is ripe, red, preliminarily clean, without defects and roasted with the best profile, highlighting its own flavor. In order to be called “Fine Robusta”, the coffee must be graded to the “Fine” threshold by R Grader, certified by CQI (Coffee Quality Institute). For the coffee to be tested and graded, the coffee producers need to follow a specific procedure: register on the CQI portal, pay the grading fee (150 – 350 USD/lot 2kg), and then send the coffee to the CQI representative facility.
The process of grading green and roasted coffee beans is through cupping according to CQI & SCA standards. This cupping assessment for Vietnam fine Robusta include several criteria: Roast level, Fragrance/Aroma, Flavor, Balance, Overall, Aftertaste, Salt/Acid Ratio, Bitter/Sweet Ratio, Mouthfeel, Uniform cups, and Clean cups. Different from Arabica, Body is not considered as a criteria because Robusta is always considered to have a thick Body. In general, Vietnam fine Robusta has standard conditions for grain quality as follows:
- First, green coffee has no grade 1 defects and less than 5 points of class 2 error beans
- Second, the cupping (or tasting) score ranges from 80-90 points on the CQI 100-point scale.
Robusta coffee plants when fully mature can grow up to 10m in height. The Robusta coffee cherries are round with small seeds, a straight center groove and can be harvested when the trees are 3-4 years old. Compared to Arabica, the color of Vietnam fine Robusta beans are darker.
These coffee plants prefer to be planted in tropical climates with an altitude under 1,000m and a temperature of 24-29 degrees Celsius. Since they require lots of sunlight, Robusta plants are seen growing mainly in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
While Robusta does not tolerate drought and cold very well, they have very good resistance to pests and diseases with a high quantity. Therefore, many coffee producers prefer to grow and manufacture Vietnam fine Robusta.
Flavor of Vietnam fine Robusta
With distinguished flavor and charming aroma, Vietnam fine Robusta is often used by coffee shops to enhance the coffee flavor of the beverages.
- Unique flavor
Many coffee lovers describe the taste of Vietnam fine Robusta as bold, bitter with high acidity, which is very distinctive. Since Robusta coffee beans are often processed dry, the bitter taste of Robusta is much stronger than other coffee varieties. This is the reason why Vietnam fine Robusta can be used as supplements for Arabica coffee to enhance the amount of caffeine. Compared to normal Robusta coffee beans, the taste of Fine Robusta is considered to always taste a bit salty, bitter but still have a taste of sweetness, “earthy” flavor with a clean aftertaste.
While Arabica has nearly double the number of sugars than Robusta, the caffeine content in Robusta coffee (about 1.7 – 3.5%) is almost two times higher than that of Arabica (about 0.8 – 1.5%). This strong flavor is why many professional coffee drinkers still prefer Vietnam fine Robusta coffee.
The making process Vietnam fine Robusta
The amount of caffeine as well as the acidity, bitterness, and other features of Vietnam fine Robusta is determined by the harvesting and processing method. Many Vietnamese roasteries apply the semi-washed process for Robusta coffee beans to make the flavor stand out.
- Harvesting and preliminary process
To have high-quality Robusta coffee beans, farmers only harvest red or medium ripe cherries and not to leave overripe or dry fruit on the tree. In harvested cherries, the majority of coffee cherries should be ripe or medium-ripe because green or unripe coffee cherries usually have a lot of water, the mucus layer covering the outside of the kernel has not yet been formed and the skin is just starting to turn green, so the density of the beans is very low. The Vietnam fine Robusta coffee cherries must be manually picked one by one and processed within 24 hours of harvest to avoid becoming hot and fermented. Next, the coffee beans are washed and removed of impurities and poor quality beans. After washing, the hand-picked ripe coffee berries are naturally fermented within 36 hours.
- Drying process
Ripe Robusta coffee beans are dried on a drying rack at least 80 cm above the ground and in a location where temperature, humidity and wind flow can be controlled stably to help enhance the fermentation, sugar, flavor and nutrients in coffee beans. Normally, Vietnam fine Robusta coffee beans are dried for a period of 14-30 days depending on the preliminary processing method, until it reaches a minimum moisture level of 12.5%.
- Roasting process
The Vietnam fine Robusta coffee beans are then have the skin removed and selected with the ideal sizes before being roasted by skilled and enthusiastic Robusta coffee bean manufacturers.
In order to preserve the premium flavor of Vietnam fine Robusta coffee, it is recommended to store them in an opaque airtight container away from light, heat, odor and moisture. The Vietnam fine Robusta coffee tastes best within 1 month of opening the package.
Growing regions of Vietnam fine Robusta
Buon Ma Thuot and Dak Lak are the two locations that come to mind when people think of Vietnam fine Robusta. The natural conditions of the provinces such as soil, climate, and altitude are all ideal for the cultivation of Robusta coffee beans in mass quantities. Some of Buon Ma Thuot most famous districts for Vietnam fine Robusta plantation are Ea Kao, Etam, Tan Lap, Tan Hoa, Tan An, Tan Loi, Cu Ebut, and some other districts such as Cu Mgar, Krong Ana.
Vietnam also has several other locations that grow coffee, namely Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Quang Tri, Nghe An towards the South of Vietnam and Lang Son, Lao Cai, and Dien Bien in the North.
Why is Vietnam fine Robusta loved around the world?
Vietnam fine Robusta (mostly green beans) has been exported to many countries around the world such as Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and the US.
- High quality
With favorable conditions (altitude of 400-1,500m above sea level, temperature of between 15-26 degrees Celsius, lots of sunshine), specialized farming system and producers’ expertise, Vietnamese farmers are famous for the high quality Vietnam fine Robusta that they produce. In general, the output of Vietnam coffee gardens can reach up to 3.5 MT per hectare.
- Competitive price
The price of Vietnam fine Robusta at the factory ranges between 3000 – 4500 USD/ton. However, since the price of coffee also depends on the shipping price, wholesale Robusta coffee beans price may not be more competitive than Brazil, the world’s leading coffee exporter. This means that if Vietnam exports to countries in closer proximity to Brazil such as the U.S., it may encounter disadvantages regarding prices. Nonetheless, for Asian markets such as Japan and the Philippines, Vietnam’s prices are considered very competitive.
- Tariff advantage
The Vietnam – EU Free Trade Agreement (officially took effect from August 1, 2020) has eliminated taxes for Vietnam Robusta coffee beans (from 7-11% to 0%), which opens the chances for Vietnam fine Robusta to be introduced in different markets.This is a huge competitive advantage for Vietnam when entering the EU market compared to its competitors.
K-Agriculture Factory – Leading Vietnam fine Robusta supplier
With 25 years in operation, as one of the Vietnamese Government Units, K-Agriculture Factory – one of the famous Robusta coffee beans wholesalers – has experience and expertise in supplying Vietnam fine Robusta coffee beans worldwide. Their Robusta Lam Dong Honey with distinct flavors and a charismatic aroma from each coffee bean is considered by experts to be among high-quality coffee products.
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