Malawi is just beginning to gain credibility in the specialty coffee market. Mzuzu is a fair-trade certified women's co-op in the Northern part of the country across the border from Tanzania. The co-op operates with a platform of gender equality, community improvement, and health education. This year they are building a hospital with the help of coffee premiums.
Much like nearby Tanzania, Malawi sorts their beans by size, which helps these large AA sized beans roast evenly. It's a washed coffee, and the beans look nice with almost no discoloration or defects to be found. The coffee shares many similarities to a Tanzania -- it is best at a light to medium roast. It's less fruity, but has a fuller body than say, a natural Ethiopia. I would compare it most closely to a Tanzania. There is a gentle citrus sweetness to it, just the right initial zip of acidity that fades away, a pleasant juiciness in the taste, and a clean sweet finish. They are pretty easy to roast -- they won't blow you away with complexity, but it does have sweet pleasant flavor.
This bean cracks later, and develops for longer, than you might expect. Don't be alarmed if color progression and cracks come at a higher temperature than you're used to. I recommend speeding up and shortening the middle of the roast to bring out more acidity, which gives the coffee more character; but slow it down and don't skimp at the end while it is developing flavor. We roast it similarly to a Kenya -- a shade darker -- roughly 40 seconds past the end of the 1st cracks. Lots of heat in the middle of the roast. Err too light and it's more tart than sweet. Err too dark and it loses it's african character. This is not a particularly pleasant coffee at dark roasts but it does impress when prepared as espresso. Our favorite Full City roast has a lime aroma, mild citrus and peach notes, and a honey-sweetness. We've heard multiple people tell us that this is their favorite coffee right now, and has even converted non-coffee drinkers into coffee drinkers.
Tanzania is one of our favorite coffees to blend with because it adds a sweetness and acidity to anything you pair it with. Not surprisingly, this Malawi also is a particularly nice coffee in blends, seemingly improving just about anything you stick it with (at 20% to 30% levels so as not to overpower the blend).
A wonderful cause to support, one of our favorite co-ops to buy from.
April 2017 arrival.
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