Coffee Consumer Spotlight: Zimbabwean Coffee
In the second part of our consumer spotlight series, we are highlighting coffee from Zimbabwe. Coffee is making a comeback here after a decades-long decline. Since 2017, TechnoServe has worked with Nespresso to restore Zimbabwe's coffee-growing regions.
In Zimbabwe, income from coffee has the potential to provide stability and a path out of poverty for farmers and their families. Despite the country’s long history of producing high-quality coffee, production dropped significantly in the early 2000s because of economic hardship and climate shocks. By 2016, only 400 smallholder coffee farmers remained.
Since 2017, TechnoServe has been working with Nespresso to revive Zimbabwe’s coffee sector through the Reviving Origins program, which trains coffee farmers in agronomy, processing, and sustainability best practices, helping them increase their yields and improve their incomes. “This project is not only bringing back some of the world’s best coffee – it is bringing back economic opportunities in Zimbabwe’s hard-hit rural areas,” says Will Warshauer, president and CEO of TechnoServe.
Where is Coffee Grown?
This coffee can be found in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands – specifically the Honde Valley in the north, and Mutare, Chipinge, and Chimanimani districts in the south. The topography of the region is characterized by numerous mountains, deep valleys, and perennial rivers that empty into the Indian Ocean after flowing through neighboring Mozambique.
In Zimbabwe, coffee farmers have historically faced many challenges, including poor yields and low prices for their coffee. Environmental challenges, such as severe drought (particularly in the southern regions), are also common. To address these concerns, TechnoServe and Nespresso launched an intensive training program focused on transferring critical knowledge of climate-smart coffee agronomy, processing, and sustainability practices to smallholder farmers.
Nespresso Reviving Origins Program
Nespresso’s significant, long-term commitment to Zimbabwean coffee has encouraged farmers to revive their coffee farms and plant new coffee trees. Farmers who sold to Nespresso already doubled their coffee income and obtained 100 percent of their proceeds in stable U.S. dollars. This has allowed them to reinvest in their farms, pay school fees, improve their homes, and purchase basic goods and nutritious food.
Anna Ushamba is one of the 300 farmers in the program. “I’m very grateful to Nespresso and our farmer trainer, who is teaching me so many new things about coffee. Last year, my 235 coffee trees delivered 120 kilograms of green coffee to Nespresso,” she adds proudly. “With my earnings, I was able to buy appropriate fertilizers, pay for medicine for my sick child, cement the floor of my house, and install a toilet in my home.”
Coffee from this region has tasting notes of red berries, currants, and cranberries, with complex fruitiness and a zesty, bright acidity. In May 2019, two years after the start of the Reviving Origins program, Nespresso launched the single origin coffee Tamuka Mu Zimbabwe (“Awakening of Zimbabwe”), which is currently available in 18 countries.