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MALAWI MZUZU WOMEN’S — AMERICAN ROAST —

The 3500 farmers of the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union produce fully washed Arabica, including the rare Geisha variety, on their family farms in the majestic Misuku Hills of Malawi, which border 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. 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. Most is grown at an altitude of 1700 to 2000 meters asl.

Mzuzu is keen for women to play an increasingly important role within the cooperative. Female membership is currently around twenty percent and they are aiming to increase this to fifty percent over the next five years.

Many of Mzuzu’s farmers are involved in a sustainable agriculture pilot, moving away from the traditional mono-crop system to shade-grown coffee production on terraces (to prevent soil erosion), and making organic fertilizers.

Diversifying, farmers sell honey locally, providing more income, while encouraging the presence of bees to pollinate the coffee plants. Nitrogen-rich beans are intercropped with coffee, improving the soil fertility and family diets.

Mzuzu also has its own coffee shop with skilled baristas to showcase their coffee in the community. The coffee shop, which was expanded in 2013, is the first to offer free wi-fi in Malawi. It has been a big success.

Each cup offers aromas of hazelnut, citrus, coconut and baker’s chocolate. Rich and full-bodied, the acidity of this coffee is described as bright and agreeably sharp. Look for flavors of sweet vanilla bean and crisp apple.

UGANDA SIPI FALLS — VIENNA ROAST —

Sipi Falls, a scenic landmark in Uganda, plunges from the slopes of Mt. Elgon, a volcanic mountain in the eastern reaches of the country. Judging by its enormous base, it is thought that Mt. Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa. The ancient volcanic slopes at elevations between 1,250 and 1,900 meters asl, are cool, tempered by altitude, primary forest and refreshing streams, rivers and waterfalls.

The local people believe that God lives on Mount Elgon, far beyond where people venture. If God is happy, they say, he brings rain. God has been happy for many years now, exemplified by the bountiful gardens that cling to the lush mountainside.

Over the years, Kawacom (U) Ltd. has focused on quality and innovation in a continued effort to bring the best of Uganda’s coffee to the rest of the world. Their latest introduction to this drive is a pulpery near Sipi Trading Center, where centralized wet processing of coffee cherries guarantees consistent levels of quality and crop control. Additionally, the mill is equipped with a dryer which ensures optimal drying of the parchment, as well as a state-of-the-art retractable drying roof structure. Annual production of green coffee is 192 MT.

This higher quality coffee attracts both higher value, and increased demand. The result is an improved income to the farmers, who have also undergone training on coffee handling in the newly commissioned Farmers Training Center.

At Kawacom, coffee is more than just a business. It is a commitment to a country, its culture, and its incredible biodiversity. Pioneering as the first producer to export Organic and UTZ certified coffee in Uganda, Kawacom continues to work with the 6,970 small holder farmers and their communities to ensure quality and sustainable agriculture with the recent addition of Rainforest Alliance certification to this project. (Most farms are less than 2 hectares in size.)

Sipi Falls Washed Arabica received 2nd prize in the 2012 African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA) Uganda cupping contest “Taste of Harvest” with a respectable 84.96 score!

 

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Tracie Burket
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