Satemwa has grown coffee since 1971. Our production techniques and philosophy have changed over time.
All our coffee is grown at an altitude of 900 - 1,000m above sea level. Interspersed between the coffee fields are riverine forest areas. These areas play an important role in the protection of indigenous flora and flora in the Southern Highlands of Malawi where population pressure has decimated all but a few isolated pockets.
We produce a range of coffee styles; a mild washed Arabica in the style of the East African Arabica's, a pulped natural and a natural coffee. Our coffees are all hand picked to ensure cherries are ripe, producing sweet, aromatic coffees. After channel grading, coffee is sun dried over 10-15 days to achieve a moisture content of 11-12%.
We currently have +/- 45ha of coffee in the ground and have recently changed our production philosophy to include old varieties (such as Geisha) use of shade, and integrated pest management techniques.
Since October 2008 we have planted a large number of trees in our coffee fields. The trees we have planted have been selected for the following reasons; they should be a 'cold' rather than a 'hot' tree in order not to compete excessively with our coffee, their ability to produce the right sort of shade, their attractiveness to birds, butterflies and other fauna, impact on the soil and how they complement the other trees species in our program. We regard this development as an important part of the future of coffee on Satemwa.
In order to better understand the natural systems at work in the areas of natural forest on Satemwa, we commissioned a study to survey the bird and tree life in these high value ecosystems.