The Republic of Vanuatu is a South Pacific island nation about 1,100 miles east of northern Australia. It encompasses around 80 islands that stretch for 1,300 kilometers. Vanuatu is located near New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, west of Fiji and northeast of New Caledonia. Approximately 270,000 people live there as of the 2016 census.
Vanuatu sits in the shadow of the still active Yasur volcano which provides the ash emissions that create the fertile soils of the region. These nutrient-rich volcanic soils make for idea coffee growing conditions. Abundant rainfall as well as sunshine also make this a great coffee growing region.
Tanna coffee is grown on Tanna Island in the archipelago of Vanuatu. The coffee cherry are picked by hand at peak ripeness. The coffee is processed the same day using natural fermentation. Then the coffee beans are sun-dried. No chemical fertilizers are used.
History of Vanuatu Coffee Cultivation
Arabica coffee plants were first planted in Vanuatu in 1852 in Port Resolution and the varietals cultivated included Arabica Typica plants from Jamaica as well as the Bourbon varietal from Reunion Island.
Coffees of Vanuatu continued:
More recently some new varietals better suited to the climate have been introduced on Tanna Island including hybrid semi-dwarf Catimor varietals and sustainable growing methods are practiced.
Also see: Best Coffees In the World
Cupping Notes for Vanuatu Coffee
The Tanna Island coffee is respected for its full body and rich aromatics with a nutty taste that proceeds into a smooth aftertaste lacking bitterness. The fine quality of the coffee is attributed in part due to the high levels of pot ash in the soil which also has very good drainage.
The established historical coffee grown on Tanna Island in Vanuatu is Arusha which was brought from Tanzania, and the Dwarf Catimor.
Topography and Climate of Tanna Island
Tanna Island’s plateau is about 350 meters above sea level and cooled in the evenings by the southeast trade winds creating warm and moist conditions. This unique climate makes up in part for being farther away from the equatorial influence than most well-known coffee growing regions.
The elevated topography and Capricorn trade winds on the Pacific Ocean side of the island create the sub-tropical conditions ideal for growing coffee.
Like many of the islands near Vanuatu, it’s a substantial agricultural company, but due to it’s location on the outer rim of Australia and Indonesia, actually has a more thriving fishing and boating industry. The volcanic soils and moderate climate make it not only ideal for growing coffee, but also cacao, coconut (“copra” is used for coconut oil) and Kava.
Another “export” for Vanuatu is actually financial services. They do not have any income tax, withholding tax, capitals gains tax or inheritance tax, though they began sharing these numbers with other governments (primarily Australia) upon request in 2008.
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