Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited, a company that produces the world acclaimed Mzuzu Coffee, dominated the National Taste of Harvest Competition organised by the African Fine Coffees Association (Afca).
The competition was organised to select the best 10 coffees from 16 coffee-growing zones in the country for auctioning with United Kingdom’s firm, Bean Auction.
Mzuzu Coffee emerged the overall winner as coffees from eight of its zones are among the country’s best 10 coffees.
The other two coffees that made it on the list are from Sable Farming and Satemwa Tea Estate.
In a statement, Afca executive director Samuel Kamau said the competition also selected the best 10 coffees from Zambia to auction them together with those from Malawi.
“The winner of the Malawi Competition was Mzuzu Smallholder Cooperative with 85.33 percent while the winner of the Zambia competition was Munali Coffee with 85.83 percent after two rounds of cupping.
“We had a turnout from the Malawi and Zambian coffee sector and cupped 16 Malawian coffees and nine Zambian coffees all of which were judged for their intrinsic quality characteristics: aroma, acidity, clean cup, uniformity of cup and aftertaste using the [Specialty Coffee Association of America] protocol,” he said.
Kamau said samples of the top coffees have been sent to various buyers who made requests and they expect to be auctioned on November 8 and 9 2017.
The competition, which was held in Mzuzu, was presided over by head of Taste of Harvest Programme Teija Lublinkhof as head judge and a team of two other Malawian cuppers Robin Saunders and Christopher Gondwe.
Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited acting chief executive officer Bernard Kaunda said his company will comment later on the results.
But in an earlier interview he said the competition is important because it will expose Malawi coffee to the world.
The Coffee Association of Malawi (Camal) chairperson Robin Saunders said the competition has come at a time there is growing attention to the growing of coffee.
He said there is no commitment on the part of government to promote the growing of coffee for it to become one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners.
Saunders said this is despite Malawi coffee being on high demand on the international market.
“There is a big demand for Malawi coffee out there, but the challenge is that we cannot grow enough to meet the demand,” he said.
Malawi exports 1 000 tonnes of coffee grown on 1 500 hectares earning the country $3 million (K2.1 billion). n