Malawi Coffee: Farmers of Sustainable Coffee ProductionCLICK HERE to subscribe to our weekly emails on finding and brewing amazing coffee!
Officially known as the Republic of Malawi, this landlocked country is located in southeastern Africa, with Zambia to the west, Mozambique in the east, south, and southwest, and Tanzania to the north and northeast. It’s also known affectionately as “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of just how friendly its people are.
Now, on a more caffeinated note, coffee was only introduced to the country by British colonizers in the 1890s. Working against the established markets for lumber, peanuts, tea, and tobacco, it was only when the country gained independence in 1964 that coffee seemed like an economically useful crop.
In Malawi, Mzuzu Coffee is a democratic and empowered Union of farmers. They work to ensure that their customer’s needs are met with their quality coffee, made with care and attention.
As a Union, they are striving to guarantee that every smallholder coffee farmer is afforded:
- Food security
- Acceptable education
In the farmers of Malawi coffee Mzuzu see the future of sustainable coffee production. Not only that, but they also run several coffee shops under the name MZUZU COFFEE DENS as well as a family-friendly, non-smoking facility advertised as ‘coffee suites’.
Malawi Coffee Profile
Malawi coffee beans can claim to be one of Africa’s great-tasting coffees, with fairly high quality.
The key characteristics of Malawi’s coffees are its full body and smooth flavor with hints of delicious chocolate… yum! But (there’s always a but…) the coffee Malawi has to offer tends to not be as good as its Ethiopian or Kenyan counterparts.
Nevertheless, these beans also have a natural sweetness with suggestions of blueberry and citrus – don’t you want a cup? We know we do.
Behind The Beans
There are between 3,000 and 4,000 smallholder coffee farmers in Malawi and they are all organized into six cooperatives:
- Viphya North
- Nkhatabay Highlands
- South East Mzimba
- Ntchisi East
Typically, all of Malawi’s coffee beans are growing at an altitude between 3000 and 8000 feet above sea level. This varying altitude means that the quality of the coffee differs between estates. Typically, the coffees growing at higher elevations tends to be of a much higher quality.
Loss Of Land
Unfortunately due to inadequate pesticide and fertilizer training, the production of coffee on many of Malawi’s estates is characterized by high field mortality rates. Large swathes of land can be lost due to improper use of chemicals which negatively affects the coffee market.
This is in part because many of these estates do not consider green coffee to be their primary crop: instead, tea, macadamia, and tobacco are their major crops.
Many of these estates are in search of investors to promote contract farming. This is necessary to increase the production of their green coffee.
Although Malawian coffee is achieving a premium price on the international market, not enough of the beans are being sold.
A Delicious Suggestion
Malawi AA Single Origin, High Altitude Specialty Arabica Bourbon
Is there ever a bad time to taste a coffee that can boast of flavor notes of key lime, berry jam, and caramel? This single origin arabica distributed by Grande Paredé Coffee is all killer and no filler.
This fair trade coffee is farmed by the farmers of the Mzuzu co-op on the highlands of the Misuku hills.
If there was ever a time to try a delicious cup o’ something new, then it’s now… roast, grind, brew, and enjoy.
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