We rarely carry coffee from Malawi, but it has solid coffee quality potential. So why have we not offered it? The reasons indicate some of the pros and cons of this coffee-producing origin.
Malawi is a country in southeastern Africa. Coffee was brought to the region in the 1800s by missionaries and planted mostly in the southern regions, which is still the case today.
What started as mainly a small-holder system, is now split between small farmers selling their coffee to cooperatives, and a few larger estates who process their own coffee, as well as buy from local farmers. Sable Farms is one such estate, and one of the larger exporters of coffee in the country.
Elevation in the country is much lower than neighboring Tanzania, and lower elevation (800 – 1200 meters) means the coffee is more susceptible to diseases like “La Roya”, and you see disease resistant strains like Catimor planted alongside Caturra and Catuai trees.
The main issue with Malwai green coffee quality is separating the coffee varieties. There is a mix of Caturra, Catuai and Catimor, as well as some Gesha coffee. The problem is mostly with the mix of catimor that can find its way into lots, and the slightly rough impression it leaves.
As far as the Gesha we have tasted, we really couldn’t be sure it was Gesha at all. It certainly did not have the aromatics and flavors we associate with that variety.
But it does seem the quality potential is there, and we hope to have more Malawi coffee to offer in the near future!