Zambia - Kateshi Estate - Yellow Honey RFA AAA/AA
Cupping Notes: Tangerine, lemon, lime, nice sweetness, long finish
This is a AAA/AA grade, Rainforest Alliance certified, Yellow Honey Process microlot from Kateshi Estate in the northern highlands of Zambia.
Harvesting is done selectively and by hand. The harvested cherries are then double-handpicked to remove any under or over-ripes prior to pulping. The honey processed coffee uses a dedicated pulper which is pre-flushed to avoid any cross-contamination from other lots. After pulping, the coffee - still retaining its sugary mucilage - is moved immediately to specialised raised African beds with a fine netting conducive to mucilage retention as well as maximum airflow. Shade nets are used to protect against sun damage during the hottest periods of the day. The coffee is carefully raked throughout the day to prevent clumping and over-fermentation, and to ensure a consistent drying process. The honeyed parchment is dried for 9-14 days depending on the ambient conditions, after which it is transported to the dry mill for secondary processing.
The Northern province of Zambia shares its borders with Tanzania to the East and D.R. Congo to the North. It also occupies the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika - the world’s longest fresh-water lake, and the largest in Africa by volume. 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 2,300masl). The local economy is dominated by agriculture with coffee being a primary cash crop alongside subsistence crops such as maize, millet, groundnuts and beans. The mountainous terrain and lack of transport infrastructure makes this region challenging to work in, but also one most in need of the investment and development which the coffee industry can bring.
Ancient volcanic soils and honey processing help produce the complex flavor profile of this coffee. It is an exploration worthy of the country that is home to the smoke that thunders. Long before Dr. Livingston arrived to name Victoria Falls after the queen, the people who had lived around this wonder of the natural world for generations had already named it more appropriately, “the smoke that thunders.” The falls thunder into the Zambesi River, which flows east toward Mozambique. But before the river crosses the border, take a left and head north up the Luangwa River. You’ll move through land rich in biodiversity, including the world’s largest concentration of hippos. As the river meanders and the altitude rises you will reach Mafinga plateau and Zambia’s largest coffee growing region which stretches all the way to the border with Tanzania.