Coffee is second only to oil as the most-traded commodity in the world.
As mentioned in the previous article, Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world. Coffee is also an important agricultural product for the economy of many Central and South American countries and various islands in the Caribbean. The Costa Rica definitive stamp set below includes three values – the 45 and 80 Centimos and 10 Colones – showing a female coffee bean picker.
Guatemala was Central America’s top producer of coffee for most of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st Century, but was overtaken by Honduras in 2011. Exporting coffee is an important part of the Guatemalan economy. The stamps below show scenes from coffee plantations ancient and modern and on the bottom-right stamp the declaration in different languages “Guatemalan Coffee The World’s Best”. That is a bold claim, and one hotly disputed by many other coffee-producing countries.
Although tea is by far the most popular recreational drink in India, the country is the seventh-largest coffee producer in the world. The stamp within the 2017 sheet below produces the aroma of coffee when rubbed.
From Ivory Coast 1970, a stamp celebrating not only the 10th anniversary of the country’s independence, but also the increase in annual production of the coffee bean during that time.
Below, from Laos 2008. French colonialists introduced the coffee plant in 1915. Volcanic soil in the south of the country contains the rich minerals suited to growing the coffee plant.
The island of St. Helena produces a relatively small, but highly-prized coffee crop annually. Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled there in 1815 after his defeat at Waterloo. He died there in 1821. He is reputed to have said that the only good thing about St. Helena was the coffee! Below a Queen Victoria death centenary mini-sheet from 2001 featuring a coffee merchant.
The coffee plant has a white blossom which gives off a fragrance similar to jasmine. The flower is shown on the stamp above issued in 1956 by the then colonised confederation of countries of French West Africa.
In 1966 the United Nations ratified an agreement involving the controlling body of the agreement, the International Coffee Organization, which represented all the major coffee producing countries and most of the consuming countries of the world. The stamps above from 1966 issued by United Nations (New York) commemorate the agreement.
Gabon was once a French colony and as such a member of OAMCAF (the African and Malagasy Coffee Organization) which was founded in 1960 to represent the African coffee-producing countries controlled by the French at that time. The nine countries of OAMCAF were Ivory Coast, Benin, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, and Togo. The stamp above was produced to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization, which was dissolved in 2007.
In 2005, New Zealand Post issued a 5-value strip of self-adhesive stamps referencing the cultural importance of coffee for its inhabitants over the years. From left to right the stamps show: 45c Café Culture 1910s, 90c Café Culture 1940s, $1.35 Café Culture 1970s, $1.50 Café Culture 1990s, $2.00 Café Culture 2005.