Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago

An estimated 14,722 ha in production in 1973, with 84% in mixed crops; 16% stand pure. Yields from mixed farming farms in Caroni were about 80.2 kg/ha, and farms in Victoria (county) produced about 858 kg/ha. Pure basic coffee produced approximately 1,840 kg/ha.

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The largest production in Trinidad and Tobago was recorded in 1968 as 73,000 bags; 1975 to 65,000 bags; and in 1977 as 60,000 bags. At the beginning of the last decade, production was 15-16,000 bags per year. The data published by the Central Statistical Office are summarized in the graph below.

Regarding the production of coffee beans, the figure was 1841.8 thousand kilograms in 1960, this figure reached a maximum of 4329.5 thousand kilograms in 1968. By 2007, the figure had dropped to 249.5 thousand kilograms, representing a decline of 86.5% in the period 1960-2007.

What do we know about coffee in Trinidad and Tobago?

Coffee was grown primarily as an accompanying crop. Historically, we've been told that T&T has one of the best coffees in the world. The Arabica and Liberica varieties were grown as experiments at the Botanical Gardens in the Port of Spain in 1875-1878 before being distributed to farmers in the St Ann Valley and Maraval Valley, who were encouraged to start commercial production (Miscellaneous Newsletter. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Vol. 1888, No. 17, 1888). At that time, Trinidad was a British crown colony, after it was captured by the Spanish in 1797. (Note: Trinidad and Tobago became a single British crown colony in 1889).

However, Angelo Bissessarsingh mentioned in his article published in the Sunday Guardian of March 13, 2016, "Trinidad Coffee: Very Flavorful and Delicious," that coffee beans were exported to Britain in 1838. It, therefore, appears that coffee could have been introduced to the island either by previous Spanish settlers or by French plantation owners who settled in parts of the island.