The 3500 farmers of the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union produce 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.
Mzuzu is keen for women to play an increasingly important role within the cooperative. Female membership is currently around twenty per cent and they are aiming to increase this to fifty per cent over the next five years.
Many of Mzuzu’s farmers are involved in a sustainable agriculture pilot. They are moving away from the traditional mono-crop system to shade-grown coffee produced on terraces, which prevent soil erosion, and learning how to make organic fertilisers. Farmers are diversifying into honey, which is sold locally, which provides 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.
Mzuzu also has its own coffee shop with skilled baristas to showcase their coffee in the local community. The coffee shop is the first to offer free wi-fi in Malawi and has been a big success. In 2013, they have plans to expand.
Rich and buttery body, lively acidity, clean, fruit forward.