Malawi’s High Commissioner to the UK visited Edinburgh today to launch Malawian coffee at one of the city’s most famous cafes.
His Excellency, Mr Kena Mphonda, visited The Elephant House this afternoon which is now selling Mzuzu coffee – named after the region in the north of Malawi where it is grown - as their ‘Coffee of the Month’ which will continue into August.
Mr Mphonda said: “I am honoured and very excited to officially launch the distinct Mzuzu coffee at The Elephant House in Edinburgh.
“Malawi is known for high-quality agriculture products so it’s great and encouraging to see our friends in Scotland enjoying the Mzuzu coffee.
“Economic development is a priority of the Government of Malawi and we’re keen to grow our export trade and to indicate that Malawi has a lot of investment opportunities in agriculture and agro-processing.”
The first coffee plant to be introduced to Malawi originated from the Edinburgh Botanic Garden in the 1870s.
Edinburgh-based Brodies Tea and Coffee Merchants are supplying the coffee to The Elephant House and hope to be able to offer more businesses in Scotland the opportunity to buy Malawian.
Ralph Lutton, MD of Brodies Tea and Coffee merchants said: “From time to time we look at bringing in guest coffees and when we cupped the Mzuzu AA we rated it as a top quality East African coffee.
“When we heard the back story about the origins of the Malawi coffee industry we knew that we had to buy some.
“We are delighted to roast and offer this quality coffee but are also pleased to continue to build the strong links that Scotland has with Malawi.”
Through sales of Mzuzu coffee, farmers in Malawi have been able to send their children to school and invest in other income-generated activities, e.g. owning a goat and keeping bees.
Iain Fraser, Co-owner of The Elephant House said: “In our twenty years in operation, The Elephant House has always been passionate about the coffee we sell.
“We also think this is a wonderful project to help the coffee growers in Malawi and the best thing about all of this is that it is genuinely good coffee, so there are benefits on all sides.”
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. By increasing Malawi’s coffee exports it will decrease the country’s dependency on their main export, tobacco, which is in decline.
David Hope-Jones, Principal Officer of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, said: “As the network representing the 94,000 Scots actively involved in Malawi links, we’re delighted to be working in partnership with Brodies and The Elephant House to bring this world-class coffee back to Edinburgh.”