AAA is the largest bean size and highest export grade that Zambia offers.
Our buddies from Olam run Zambia coffee, they are both the largest coffee producer in Zambia and now the largest employer in the country. Olam operates in close collaboration with the indigenous communities who in turn lend their support to the estate participating in the production of its fine coffees. The estate benefits from pure underground spring water used for both irrigation and post-harvest washing.
The history of Zambian coffee seems familiar: men in Holy Orders of one sort or another arrive and plant seeds. But in the case of Zambia, missionaries did not introduce coffee farming until the 1950s. By the time commercial coffee production began in Zambia, the British had considerable experience in starting and operating coffee plantations in India, Kenya, and elsewhere. Planting coffee was an attempt to decrease a dependence on copper exports. Not surprisingly, the emphasis was on yield and production efficiencies. Plantations were large and orderly, grown in full sun on flat land, and processed in large wet mills wherever possible. Nevertheless Zambia made almost no appearance whatsoever on the world coffee stage until coffee was officially exported for the first time in 1985.
A good cup from light to dark. Medium bodied with gentle brightness and hints of soft fruit that comingle with the heftier and spicier classic African darker tones. Clean well rated cup, lighter roasts accentuate the brighter more floral tones, darker the bakers chocolate and spice. We found a nice medium roast was our favorite bringing excellent balance between the two. If your not a big acidity or fruity coffee fan, darker roasts mute up a bunch of the acidity and give a real big bodied, smoky, complex and very dark toned cup of coffee.
A very fun one to play around with the roast, a bit more acidity in the cup really differentiated the lighter from darker roasts. A good one to drag out a bit if roasting before 2nd crack. Can go from first crack to 2nd a little quicker than average so make sure to keep an eye on it.
The Northern province has the best conditions for arabica coffee cultivation in Zambia with its relative proximity to the equator and abundant altitude (Mafinga Hills being the highest point in the country at 2,300 masl). Most coffee grows from 1300 – 2300 masl. Zambia produces both washed and naturally processed coffee and has introduced some honey processing. A wide range of varieties including Catimor 129, Castillo, Java, and other trial varieties. Specialty grades are AAA, AA, AB and Peaberry.
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