It feels like we are in a bit of a golden era when it comes to discoveries and innovations at the farm level. Over the past few years new processing methods and varieties—or in the case of Eugenioides, old varieties—have found their ways not just to the competition stages but into regular production from roasters around the world. Where we have seen less in the way of innovation comes from new origins switching over to producing specialty grade coffee.
But this week, a group of roasters from Europe are releasing the first-ever specialty grade coffee produced by Madagascar, and they are available for purchase now!
The coffee comes from the Zebu Estate and brought to the UK by Omwani, the fully washed Typica/Bourbon represents the first specialty offering to come out of Madagascar. As can be expected with the first year of production, the yield was incredibly small, with only 30kg total making it to the UK to be split evenly by six different roasters, including Figment Coffee Roasters in Aberdeen, Manifesto Coffee in Perth, Triple Co Roast in Bristol, and Wild Heart Coffee Roasters in Northern Ireland. Manifesto Coffee’s Alex MacIntyre describes the coffee as “not overly acidic, but nicely balanced” with tasting notes of “candy apple, toasted marshmallows, and buttered crumpets.”
But for many of the roasters taking part, this new offering isn’t as much about the flavors present in this particular cup, but what they represent for a new growing region. Each roaster put up £600 for the lot, with the bulk of that “going into the development of the Estate to bring it to a more sustainable commercial capacity,” per MacIntyre.
“The exciting thing about this coffee isn’t so much how it tastes, but what it represents. For small roasters to have the opportunity to take part in the development of what is effectively a new origin of coffee, with all the infrastructure and, hopefully, economic benefit that brings to the people on the ground in Madagascar is pretty wild. The coffee scene is pretty global, and projects like this help to make the coffee community even better.”
The UK roasters involved with this initial offering have all agreed on a set price point for their Zebu Estate coffees: £30 for a 125g bag. Each company is expected to put out only 30 to 32 bags total.
The Madagascar Zebu Estate is currently available for purchase at Manifesto Coffee and on pre-order with Figment. The release dates for the other roasters have yet to be announced. For more information, visit the roasters’ official websites.