Kateshi coffee estate, as one of the first coffee estates in Zambia, was established in 1972 close to Kateshi village. Back then, its wet processing facilities represented the heart of coffee production in northern Zambia having been the central mill for all coffee produced in the region.
Sustainability is at the heart of Kateshi Estates operations and they strive for excellent community relations and protection of natural resources. Almost 600 ha of land are protected forest area with high conservation value. Kateshi has been recognized for boldly challenging the gender stereotypes in Zambia, being the first and only coffee estate to employ women for traditionally male-dominated roles such as driving tractors and even larger equipment like road graders and bulldozers. A strong focus on gender equality means this coffee directly contributes to the empowerment of women.
The Art of Production
This coffee utilises a washed process with an extended fermentation period. Ripe cherries are sorted through floatation, pulped, and then fermented in water for 48 hours. The coffee is then washed in the fermentation tank to remove excess mucilage. Once fully washed, the parchment coffee is sun-dried slowly on a combination of raised African beds, patios, and hot air beds. Once the optimum moisture content has been reached the parchment coffee is rested in a cool, dry environment prior to secondary processing (hulling, grading, sorting).
The Northern Province of Zambia shares its borders with Tanzania to the East and D.R. Congo to the North. It also occupies the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika - the world’s longest fresh-water lake, the largest in Africa by volume, and also its deepest.
The Northern Province has the best conditions for arabica coffee cultivation in Zambia with its relative proximity to the equator and abundant altitude (Mafinga Hills being the highest point in the country at 2,300 masl). The local economy is dominated by agriculture with coffee being the primary commercial crop, alongside subsistence crops such as maize, millet, groundnuts, and beans. The mountainous terrain and lack of transport infrastructure make this region challenging to work in, but also one most in need of the investment and development which the coffee industry can bring.