Malawi Mzuzu Fair Trade
Malawi is often overshadowed by neighboring coffee producing countries in East Africa. It has been quite some time since we featured a coffee from this often-overlooked origin, but increasingly, delicious lots have been making their way onto our cupping table. This fully washed lot from the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union has vibrant acidity and delicate floral notes that are complemented by sweet flavors of citrus and stone fruit.
Established in 2007, the Mzuzu Cooperative is comprised of six subgroups located throughout northern Malawi. Each of these smaller co-ops are broken up into zones, that have centrally located washing stations (totaling 54 mills in all!) where coffee cherries are processed. These washing stations are usually no more than 5 kilometers from the farthest farms. Coffee has been grown in Malawi since the 1930s, but distribution had historically been limited due to the many small grower groups that were scattered throughout the region. The Mzuzu Cooperative united farmers, which helped the membership gain market access and receive higher prices for their coffee.
Mzuzu is committed to producing high quality coffee and increasing the quality of life for its members through economic empowerment. The nearly 3,000 members are provided with microfinance support and quality management training. Nearly a quarter of the members are women, and the group hopes by 2020 that figure increases to at least 40%.