Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Zimbabwe crisis hits coffee lovers

It's not well known, but Zimbabwe produces the best low grade coffee in Africa! Yip, as odd as that might sound, Zimbabwe mbuni is a really low grade coffee with really amazing properties. When mixed with higher grade arabica coffee, it provides a crema typical of good robusta beans. BUT, without the earthy flavours that characterise poor quality African robusta grades.

So, we get the taste, the crema and the body...with less bitterness. Important? Oh yes, the palates of many instant coffee drinkers are often averse to the robusta flavours in espresso coffee and this can put them off the "great leap" to bean coffee. Yet, it provides roundness and body to the 100% arabica espresso blends.

One additional downside to the crisis in Zimbabwe is that it is now becoming really difficult to find. Thugs have taken control of farms and disrupted their operations and as we use more traditional espresso blends in our coffee machines, we're seeing an increase in the "I don't like this blend as much as the previous one!" comments. Well that is bittersweet.....

Bitter, because we like to please but sweet because our clients can tell the difference!! Considering that they come from instant coffee backgrounds....it's great. Some of these people really complained when we replaced their instant coffee vending machine with a bean-to-cup machine! (see www.frontiercoffee.co.za for a view on these different machine types)

We'll be praying for a speedy end to the political problems in Zimbabwe...not only because the people of Zimbabwe deserve better, but because our customers do too.

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