Malawi is just beginning to gain credibility in the specialty coffee market. There are a few up and coming Malawi coffee groups, but your best bet is from the Mapanga Estate. It is currently the model for all the other coffee growers in the country. Malawi is a landlocked, very small nation, with a very small coffee crop. It borders Tanzania in the north; but Mapanga Estate is in the south, almost over into Mozambique and Zimbabwe. You would expect that the northern Malawi coffee (Mzuzu for example) would be the better coffee, and someday maybe it will be, but one advantage of the south is the altitude. The coffee at Mapanga enjoys altitudes of 7000 feet and higher, whereas the coffee in the north grows at altitudes of 3,000-6,000 feet (still plenty high for growing great coffee...but 7,000-8,000 feet is extraordinary).
This is a WASHED process coffee, so it's less fruity, but has a fuller body than say, a natural Ethiopia. There is a gentle caramel sweetness to it, and spice notes (cumin, curry) and just the right initial zip of acidity that fades away, a pleasant juiciness in the taste. The beans are top grade and are a pretty bluish hue.
My favorite roast is approaching 2nd cracks but not quite there (Full City as the professionals would say). It's a versatile coffee to roast though. Light roasts have almost too much of the spice notes, and dark roasts don't have enough complexity, so medium roasts are my favorite balance of flavors; but all roasts are drinkable.
US Arrival January 2021
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