Not far from the birthplace of Lance Witham himself, comes this exciting new offering from Crake Valley Estate, in the mountains near the town of Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Staff and all our regulars have been enjoying its sweet citrus and chocolaty tones through the Witham’s Roastery Espresso Bar this week.
It is a washed Caturra varietal, which is a mutation of Coffee Bourbon with high production and good quality, but requires extensive care and fertilization. Grown at the high altitude of 1,100-1,300 meters above sea level it offers medium acidity and body with a rich chocolaty mouthfeel.
These mountains which separate the steaming plains of Mozmabique from the sweeping high veldt of Zimbabwe have the high rainfall, mists and mild climate that make it ideal for coffee growing.
The owner Robert Boswell –Brown, is a second generation coffee grower.Since 1960 the family has strived to transform the farm into a place of outstanding beauty by preserving existing forest while planting coffee and pastures.
Crake Valley Estate continually strives for ecological balance and, being also a dairy farm, they have been able to intercrop and rotate coffee plantations with pastures to break any build up of pests and diseases, especially focusing on Integrated Pest Management and different indigenous shade trees. Manure from the dairy goes onto the coffee, while the coffee skins, sugars and water from the farm pulpery are spread or pumped onto the pastures. To ensure the coffee is at its peak quality, they handpick their pure Arabica berries and wash them in the sparkling mountain water.
The farm supports over 90 families; and many have been there for 30 years or more. Ensuring a high standard of living for the employees is critical to producing high quality coffee. Leopard Forest pay salaries far exceeding government-stipulated wages, and provide all workers housing (with water and electricity), a day care center, primary education, health care, soccer team, and community hall in the farm village.
In 2002 Crake Valley were awarded the Innovative Farm Management award from the Zimbabwe Coffee Growers Association. The award is not only for inventive farming techniques, but also farm maintenance, quality of life and working conditions for their employees.