zimbabwe map

Zimbabwe, formerly known as lower Rhodesia until independence in 1980, has produced great coffee since production was introduced in the 1960s. Like Zambian coffees, these coffees are often overshadowed by the great East African coffee: Kenya. But they can have great balance, complexity, body and finesse. (But note that not all do! It sometimes takes some rigorous cupping to find truly great estate Zimbabwe as there is an abundance of lesser non-estate in US warehouses…) Coffee production is chiefly from the Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces along the border of Mozambique. Coffee production towns are Chipinge (also spelled Chapina) and Mutare. Top AA quality coffee is often marked “Code 53” on the bags, an enigmatic and perhaps arbitrary internal designation for best quality. Lately, the power-grabbing by Mugabe and suppression of democratic media in Zimbabwe is very troubling. While land reform does not affect the coffee areas, and perhaps has its merits, the way it was done was regrettable. Zimbabwe’s future does not look as bright as it did 10 years ago, when it was a model of progress in East Africa.

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