Two Different Coffees from Bali and Malawi







The 3500 farmers of the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union produce Washed Arabica (including the rare Geisha variety) on their family farms located in the majestic Misuku Hills of Malawi, bordering on Tanzania.

Mzuzu’s coffee, which is processed to the highest standards at village washing stations and then at a central hulling and sorting plant, wins prizes each year in the national cupping competition. A full washed milling process is employed. The cooperatives in the Mzuzu Union come from various regions within the country. This coffee showcases the best aspects of each region’s unique climate and growing conditions, and your favorite Coffee of the Month Club is proud to present it to you this month.

Women play an important role in the cooperative. Female membership is currently around 20%, and they are aiming to increase this to 50% over the next five years.

Many of Mzuzu’s farmers are involved in a sustainable agriculture pilot. They are moving away from the traditional mom-crop system to shade-grown coffee produced on terraces, which prevents soil erosion; and they are making and using organic fertilizers. Farmers are diversifying into honey, which is sold locally, providing additional income, while encouraging the presence of bees to pollinate the plants. Nitrogen-rich beans are intercropped with coffee, improving the soil fertility and family diets, as well.

This selection shows rich, full, buttery body with bright, piquant acidity. It is fruit forward and clean tasting. Note the aromas of hazelnut, citrus, coconut and baker’s chocolate. Flavors of vanilla bean and crisp apple dominate.

Mzuzu has its own coffee shop with skilled baristas to showcase their coffee to the locals. The coffee shop, the first to offer wi-fi in Malawi, has been a big success!



Balinese Blue Moon coffee is a rare and unique Arabica specialty coffee produced by smallholding farmers in the fertile volcanic highland area at the heart of the colorful paradise island of Bali.

In 1963, Arabica planting in the Kintamani Highland was disrupted by the eruption of Gunung Agung volcano, causing production to drop significantly for nearly 15 years. The government started coffee redevelopment efforts in the late 1970′s, mainly by granting coffee seedlings to farmers. Today, the growing area of Arabica coffee in Bali is estimated at 7,500 hectares.

In Kintamani, farming techniques are relatively uniform. Fertilizer is farm generated, and pesticides are never used. Concentration of coffee trees is between 1,111 and 2,000 per hectare. Careful pruning aids in easy harvesting and higher yields of quality coffee cherries. Permanent shade trees (Erythrina, Albizia and Leucaena) are strategically planted to keep available shade between 30 and 50%.

When the coffee market slumped in the early 1990′s, many coffee farmers turned to growing fruit, either cutting their coffee trees down, or planting tangerines and oranges between the existing coffee trees. Luckily, this eventually provided shade under which the coffee trees prospered, as well as providing the diversification needed to maximize the return from the land.

Great care is exercised at harvest time as the farmers sort through the cherries to discard those that do not meet their quality standards. After sorting, the outer skin of the cherries are removed, the pulped coffee is stored in a fermentation tank from 24 to 36 hours before being sun dried on patios and drying racks.

Arabica coffee farmers in Kintamani are, for the most part, strongly organized through Subak Abian (SA), a traditional structured organization of farmers in Bali. SA plays an important role not only in agriculture, but also in religion. This unique farmer’s organization is founded on the philosophy that emphasizes the importance of the relationships between man and God, man and his fellow man, and man and the environment.

The Arabica varieties grown in Bali are Typica and Catomor. Their coffee is rich in aroma, with full body and pleasant acidity. The flavors most forward are wood, smoke and earth, with nuances of chocolate and cherry, and an unexpected spiciness that makes Bali coffee an outstanding beverage choice.

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