Green Coffee Offerings : Africa : Zambia
Upcoming Crop Comments
Zambia has been tough to find, and when we have it I feel lucky. Our policy is simple: the cup has to be good or we won't stock it. There are wholesale roasters that are compelled to offer a coffee from every origin. If the cup is no good, why in the world would you do that? Frankly though, with amazing Kenyas readily available, a Zambia is up against some tough competition.
About Zambian Coffee
From the country formerly known as upper Rhodesia in a country now named for the Zambezi River, Zambian coffees range from Kenya-like brightness to subtle, balanced coffee with complexity, body and nuanced flavors... Zambia has variable quality: it has the potential to be outstanding (which is why we offer particular lots when we find an excellent coffee), and it can be very off-tasting and defective (which is why sometimes we are out of stock on Zambian coffee for long stretches). Coffee is grown in the Northern district of the Muchinga Mountains (regions of Nakonde, Kasama and Isoka) and in the vicinity of the capital city of Lusaka. Coffee was introduced in the 1950's with cultivar seedstock from Tanzania and Kenya.
The past few crop produced some real duds ...do not expect that every coffee with an exotic East African name will be good! In fact, I think the logistics of shipping these coffees can result in some of the loss of flavor, or in the case of Tanzanian, baggy flavors from being stored in shipping containers in port cities for too long! If it is good coffee, it has to be handled properly and shipped quickly, and when I cup them its very easy to weed out the ones that haven't. Anyway, when we have a Zambian in stock you can bet it is good!
The 2000 crop ranged from unremarkable estate coffees to very poor quality generic stocklots of peaberry and flatbean. These were widely available, and I thought they were all very poor in the cup. It is sad to know that these low quality lots are ruining a good origins reputation, and that some "specialty" roaster somewhere is buying this stuff and selling it as "good" coffee. The 2001 crop was a mixed bag, but we have found an excellent coffee from the Isanya Estate -very potent and perhaps not for every palate due to distinct wild notes in the cup. In 2003 we thought the Lupili was quite nice, but the following year it was flat as cardboard. In 2006, it is again a fine cup, with that balanced cup character we appreciated in the past. Even from the exact same farm, you can expect these variations from crop to crop, year to year.
Our Unroasted Zambian Coffee Offerings:Please refer to our Reference Page for definitions of terms and cupping numbers used below. Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about home roasting this and other coffees.
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
Zambian coffees recent to the Specialty trade and perhaps yet to emerge from the long shadow cast by the East African powerhouse, Kenya. But like their cousins from Zimbabwe they can be uniquely endowed with both balance, sweetness and interesting wild notes emerging in the aromatics and aftertaste. It takes some searching and patience to find a good single-Estate Zambian though. There were some generic lots in the U.S. last year, peaberry in particular, where off flavors dominated to cup, and there was no sweetness to provide balance. The Lupili has a range of flavors within the cup, and can produce a range of cups: it can take a wide altitude of roasts and produce interesting cup character as a result. Roasted to a lighter City Roast stage (through first crack completely, stopping before any hint of 2nd Crack) the cup is lively, zested with a bit of tangerine acidity (with a bit of rind), caramelly, and having that distinct East African wild note (sage/goldenseal herbiness, a little leathery-?-) emerge in the aftertaste. And on the subject of aftertaste, it is extremely long given the balance of the cup. Candy-malty caramelly roast taste shift to bittersweet tones as you go from a City Roast to a Full City+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. The coffee is excellent in an case and invites your interpretation in terms of "degree of roast". The drum roaster create nice roasts of this coffee too. Espresso: I made incredible straight roast espresso with this, roasted to a light Vienna and rested 2 days.
View Cupping Scores
We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our Zambia Coffee Archives.
2005-2006 | 2004 -2003 | 2001-2002 | Pre-2000
Tom's Sample Cupping Log | Moisture Content Readings
This page is authored by Thompson Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission