Malawi, formerly recognized as Nyasaland and located in Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, has been an origin country since 1891 when British colonialists brought the crop down from neighboring Kenya

and Tanzania. Malawi has been using coffee as a means of national income since before its independence in 1964, and has been improving Arabica production throughout the passed few decades, in part because it is an agriculture-based economy.

100% Arabica is becoming the majority coffee crop, though for the time being catimar bourbon, or Kenyan SL28 varietal which is a robusta/Arabica hybrid created during the quantity focused mid and late 20th century. The 100% Arabica Gesha from Ethiopia is the up and coming varietal of the region, and farmers receive incentives for its planting. Until recently Malawi operated with just two classifications for their varietals, class 1 and class 2, though they have recently moved over to the size grading system of AAA, AA, and AB.

This simple grading system is a frustration to many who are concerned with absolute consistency in their cup, though one of the benefits for the buyer is in Malawi consistently offering a quality crop at a low price partially due to this grading system. Surely this won’t last as practices continue to improve across the continent.