Coffees from the small landlocked country of Malawi are more often than not identified by co-op than by obvious geographic borders, microclimates, or characteristic terroir. That said, some of Malawi’s best coffee comes from the Misuku hills in Chitipa District, Northern region. Slightly reminiscent of washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe profiles, a sweet, balanced cup with medium acidity and fruit, citrus, and chocolate notes is Chitipa’s norm.
Though Chitipa has some large coffee estates, smallholder coffees got their start here in the 1920s; the Colonial government of the time supplied farmers with coffee seedlings, which flourished in the rich highland soil west of giant Lake Nyasa, aka Lake Malawi. An area abounding in biodiversity, Chitipa borders Tanzania on the north, with Zambia on the west. The terrain is rugged and steep, and coffee is often grown on terraces to make cultivation easier.