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Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans: Shocking truth about Vietnamese coffee

Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans are the coffee commodity that makes Vietnam the second largest coffee exporter in the world. With an increasing competitive advantage, the value of Vietnamese coffee is being affirmed in the international market.

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Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans general information

Robusta is the most popular line of coffee grown in Vietnam, especially in the Central Highlands. This is also a key export commodity that makes Vietnam the second largest coffee exporter as well as the leader in Robusta production in the world.

Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans origin and distribution

  • Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans origin

Vietnamese coffee originally comes from a coffee tree spread of French missionaries, who brought an Arabica-type from Bourbon island and planted them around northern Vietnam in the colonial domination period.

In 1908, the French brought two other types of coffee to Vietnam, Robusta and Exelsa. The French have continuously experimented with different varieties from the Congo in the Central Highlands, and have seen a very good development of coffee in this area.

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Vietnamese Robusta green coffee beans

During the war and until 1986, many coffee-producing areas developed, but very slowly and with low yields. In 1986, the total area of the country for Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans production was only about 50,000 hectares and the production volume was 18,400 tons (just over 300,000 bags of 60 kg).

  • Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans distribution
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Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans distribution

When it comes to where Robusta coffee is grown, most people think about Buon Ma Thuot and Dak Lak. Before that, French experts in the field of agriculture had carefully surveyed the soil, climate, altitude, and ancient alluvial layers to choose Buon Ma Thuot as an area specializing in Robusta coffee cultivation. Ma Thuot is the center within a radius of 10km to grow Robusta coffee trees to ensure the best quality such as Ea Kao, Etam, Tan Lap, Tan Hoa, Tan An, Tan Loi, Cu Ebut, and some other districts such as Cu Mgar, Krong Ana.

Not only in Dak Lak, Lam Dong but also in Vietnam, there are many areas where coffee can be grown such as Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Quang Binh, Dien Bien, Son La, Tuyen Quang, Phu Tho, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Lao Cai, and Yen Bai. However, when it comes to the area that produces the best Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans, the answer is still Buon Ma Thuot and Dak Lak – the largest coffee granary in Vietnam.

Characteristics of Robusta coffee plants

  • Shape features

Robusta coffee plants have the form of a tree or shrub that can reach up to 10m in height when fully mature. The coffee cherries are round, and the seeds are smaller than Arabica coffee. Like the Arabica variety, Robusta coffee cherries can be harvested when the trees are 3-4 years old and they continue to bear fruit for more than about 20 to 30 years.

  • Living environment

Robusta plants prefer to live in tropical climates with suitable altitudes under 1,000m. The most ideal environmental conditions for the plants to grow well is about 24-29 degrees Celsius for temperature and over 1,000mm for annual rainfall. More so, Robusta plants require more sunlight than Arabica.

  • Resistance

Compared with other varieties, Robusta coffee plants have very good resistance to pests and diseases, have a high quantity, and are easy-cared. However, Robusta is not as drought and cold tolerant as other varieties. In addition, although the output of Robusta is high, it is not stable.

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Characteristics of Robusta coffee plants

Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans harvesting process

To have high-quality coffee, it is essential to harvest red or medium ripe cherries and not to leave overripe or dry fruit on the tree.

  • In harvested cherries, the number of ripe or medium-ripe coffee cherries must be 95%. Except for the last harvest, this percentage may be lower.
  • Coffee cherries must be picked one by one with fingers and avoid plucking the branches or the whole bunch. It is crucial not to harm the branches, leaves, and buds to protect the next crop.
  • In addition, if the coffee cherries are left outside for too long, they will become hot and fermented. To avoid that, coffee cherries must be processed within 24 hours of harvest.

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    Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans harvesting process

Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans characteristics

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Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans characteristics

  • Taste

The taste of Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans are very distinctive compared to other coffee lines. Compared to Arabica, Robusta coffee is bolder and has a bitter taste as well as higher acidity. Moreover, because Robusta coffee beans are often processed dry, the bitter taste is much stronger than Arabica coffee.

The Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans handling process and processing method determine the amount of caffeine as well as the acidity, bitterness, and astringency of this coffee. Therefore, many roasteries have applied the semi-washed process for Robusta coffee beans to make the flavor close to that of commercial Arabica.

  • Appearance

Robusta coffee beans are smaller and somewhat rounder, with a straight center groove. It is usually darker in color than Arabica when roasted at the same temperature. Robusta beans have a more consistent hue than Arabica beans.

  • Substance content

Arabica has over 60 percent more lipids and nearly double the number of sugars than Robusta. As a result, these sugars play a significant function in the roasting process, contributing to the body owing to the higher amount of dissolved soluble.

Because of these characteristics, many coffee drinkers consider Robusta coffee less attractive than Arabica. However, the caffeine content in Robusta coffee (about 1.7 – 3.5%) is almost twice higher than that of Arabica (about 0.8 – 1.5%), so many drinkers still prefer Robusta coffee because of its stronger flavor. That is the reason why many roasteries and coffee shops like to mix Arabica beans with 10-15% of Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans to increase the flavor and create a crema layer in an espresso shot.

Comparison between Vietnam Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee

Here is a quick comparison between Vietnamese Robusta and Vietnamese Arabica coffee beans.

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Arabica & Robusta

Category Robusta Arabica
Distribution Mainly in the Central Highlands Northern mountainous provinces
Resistance Good resistance to pests and diseases
Poor drought and cold tolerance
Poor resistance
Productivity High Lower than Robusta variety
Substance content Higher caffeine content Lower in sugar and lipid
Lower caffeine content
Higher in acidity, sugar, and lipid
Flavor Bold and bitter taste
Peanut aftertaste
Smoother taste
Distinctive sour and aftertaste
Price Low High

Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans comparative advantages

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee exporter in terms of volume and fifth in value. The average coffee export value is about 3 billion USD per year, accounting for more than 10% of the country’s total agricultural exports, although it accounts for only 1.2% of the total value of all commodities. The main export destinations of Vietnam are Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the US. Most of Vietnam’s coffee exports are Robusta green coffee beans, but recently, the share of processed coffee in Vietnam is increasing, from 5% in 2016 to 12% in volume and 22% in value in 2020.

In addition, Vietnam has a great competitive advantage in Robusta green coffee beans for the following reasons:

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Vietnam has a great competitive advantage in Robusta green coffee beans

Quantity advantage

The biggest advantage of Vietnamese coffee is its large quantity and competitive price, which comes from a number of factors:

  • Favorable natural conditions: The coffee growing areas in Vietnam are located at an altitude of 400-1,500 MASL; the temperature is 15-26 degrees Celsius; the precipitation and sunshine are ideal for coffee trees.
  • Specialized farming system: Most coffee plantations only grow one type of intensive coffee farming, so the farming system is optimized for the whole region.
  • High productivity coffee varieties are continuously researched and bred

Therefore, the productivity of coffee gardens in Vietnam can reach 3.5 MT per hectare compared to the average of 1.8 MT per hectare in Brazil.

Price advantage

The FOB price of Vietnamese coffee traded on the market is 5% lower than that in the world. However, in fact, the selling price of Vietnam is not lower than its main competitor, Brazil, because the price in the buying market depends greatly on the shipping price. Besides, the low exchange rate of the local currency of Brazil (Real) in recent years has also reduced the price of coffee production in Brazil.

For Asian markets such as Japan and the Philippines, Vietnam’s prices are very competitive, but for the US market, Brazil has a greater advantage.

Tariff advantage

One of the favorable factors that can be seen is to make good use of opportunities from the Vietnam – EU Free Trade Agreement to promote exports. With the implementation of the EVFTA, the EU has eliminated taxes for Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans (from 7-11% to 0%).

At the same time, among the 39 geographical indications of Vietnam that the EU has committed to protecting when the EVFTA officially comes into force, there is a geographical indication on coffee, including Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans. This is a huge competitive advantage for Vietnam’s coffee industry compared with competitors in the EU market.

Premium quality Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans suppliers

Coffee is one of the most attractive exporting commodities in Vietnam. Here are some prestigious names in terms of distributing premium quality Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans.

Vina Café – Vietnam Coffee Corporation – One Member Co., Ltd

Vina Café has a complete system that produces Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans with high productivity, good quality, and a system of import and export trading companies. The Corporation is one of Vietnam’s leading suppliers of green coffee beans – accounting for 30% of the country’s export market share.

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Vina Café – Vietnam Coffee Corporation – One Member Co., Ltd

Contact information

WhatsApp: +84 855555837

K-Agriculture Company, LLC.

K-Agriculture is the loyal vendor of thousands of B2B partners all around the world. 25 years history of delivering Vietnamese agricultural products to the world has let it deeply understand the entire market and support partners with adequate quality.

Contact information

Email: info@k-agriculture.com

Website: https://k-agriculture.com/

WhatsApp: +84 855555837

Trung Nguyen Legend – Trung Nguyen Coffee JSC

Trung Nguyen Legend is an enterprise operating in the fields of coffee production, processing and trading; franchise; distribution services, modern retail, and tourism. Trung Nguyen Coffee is one of the most famous brands in Vietnam and is present in more than 60 countries around the world.

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Trung Nguyen Legend

Contact information

WhatsApp: +84 855555837

AVC HEMERA Co., Ltd

AVC HEMERA Co., Ltd. is known as a professional coffee producer and distributor with pure, diversified, and high-quality Vietnam Robusta green coffee beans.

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AVC-HEMERA-Co.-Ltd.

Contact information

WhatsApp: +84 855555837

Son Duong Coffee Co., Ltd

Son Duong Coffee Co., Ltd. is famous for supplying high-quality coffee from excellent raw material areas such as Nam Ban, Buon Ho, Dak-Nia, Tram Hanh – Da Lat, and LangBiang plateau.

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Son Duong Coffee Co., Ltd

Contact information

WhatsApp: +84 855555837

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