The co-op is one of only 4 farms left in the country exporting coffee, and before 2015 it was only exporting to Europe and Australia, but this year we got to buy some of it. Even though they market themselves as an estate, the coffee is really a co-op of farmers who work together. The farmers do adhere to organic growing practices and fair labor conditions, although it carries official certification for neither at this time.
These are large AAA beans -- which would be comparable to AA in other countries -- but at any rate these are the nicest beans you'll ever see out of Zimbabwe and are of the SL-28 and Catimor varieties. Washed process, well-sorted, few defects, and easy to roast. In general, Zimbabwe beans do well right at, or a few seconds into, the 2nd crack, giving you a nice rounded out body and flavor and acidity with hints of juicy fruit and sweet grains. But this lot is so satisfying at darker roasts that we've decided to roast it about 30 seconds into the 2nd cracks and pull out earthiness and spice and nuts and full body. We put this side by side with our other dark roasts (Sumatra, Java, Burundi) and we all kept going back to this one. It's fun that its from Zimbabwe, but side-by-side with other coffees it not only stands its ground but surpasses them.
Good Zimbabwes do not come along every year. In fact, the good ones don't usually make it into the US. Most Zimbabwe beans that we sample are riddled with defects, and they have a "Christmas Tree" taste that we don't enjoy. This one is a good one.
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