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Tonga is one of the southernmost coffee growing regions in the world, its geographical location mimic’s the famous coffee growing areas of Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
This area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is referred to as the "Bean Belt" by connoisseurs of coffee as nearly all of the commercially grown coffee in the world comes out of these regions. The best beans produced are those grown at high altitudes, in a moist, tropical climate, with rich soils and temperatures around 70°F (21°C). Tonga is very close to the Tropic of Capricorn and its altitude is equivalent to an altitude of 900 to 1,000 metres in the Equator region of the “Bean Belt”.
THE WORLD’S TINIEST COFFEE ISLANDS
The Kingdom of Tonga is an island nation in the South Pacific, including 176 islands belonging to Polynesia.
In 1973, Haniteli Fa`anunus, Director of the Research Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, was to look after the growth of exportable agricultural products.
With the help of the French different varieties were within the next five years.
Finally, Caturra was planted in Vaini on the main island of Tongatapu.
The resulting coffee plantation was in royal possession, the Royal Tongan Coffee Company.
At the end of the 20th century the Royal Tongan Coffee Company was privatized.
Corruption led to bankruptcy after a few years already.
Jo Kupu was employed by the bank as a plantation worker from a 6 hectare monoculture farm and founded Kingdom Koffie.
Together with her husband Vini and a few harvesters, the coffee comes from the tree to the bag.
Several cafés throughout Tonga are supplied by Kingdom Koffie.
Emeline Afeaki-Mafileó and her husband Alipate bought the Royal Tongan Coffee Company a few years ago.
They founded Tupu’anga Coffee, which is 100% organic.
The annual harvest of 8 tons gives around 60 people work.
A big part of the revenue go to educational opportunities for young people.
Even if the Tonga coffee is not relevant for worldwide production, it is ranked 6th in the world with a harvest yield of 15,736 hectogramm per hectare.
In the taste, the coffee is very strong, with a fine acidity and a good body.
Its distinctive character gets the coffees by cultivation near the sea.