Coffee planting and production have greatly contributed to the economy of northwestern Angola, including the province of Uíge. Coffee production was started by the Portuguese in the 1830s and soon became a cash crop. Angola's first commercial coffee plantation was started by a Brazilian farmer in 1837. The most common crop grown in about 2,000 Angolan plantations, owned mainly by the Portuguese, was robusta coffee.
In the early 1970s, Angola was the third-largest coffee-producing country in the world. However, the civil war that followed Portuguese rule devastated a large number of coffee plantations. With most coffee agronomists migrating to Brazil, coffee plants grown on plantations have become wild bushes. Rehabilitation of plantations has been ongoing since 2000. With the opening of new roads, industrial activity in the province is taking shape.
The National Coffee Institute of Angola has three research stations, mainly responsible for the production and distribution of robusta seedlings, in Gabela, Kwanza Sul, and Uige. However, due to war damage, only one of them is functional. Actual coffee production occurs predominantly in Uige, Kwanza Norte, Kwanza Sul, Bengo, and Cabinda. Arabica coffee production, which accounts for about 5% of Angola's coffee exports, takes place in Benguela, Bie, Huambo, Huila, and Moxico. Angola had the highest level of coffee production in 1973, with a total yield of 209,000 tons.