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Zimbabwe’s forgotten coffees get new lease on life through Nespresso and National Geographic Channel

The result was stunning coffee images - including images of children playing football on the dusty courtyard of a Zimbabwean homestead. Pictures: Rena Effendi


Zimbabwe Digital News


Zimbabwe is often in the news headlines for all the wrong reasons – but who would have thought that the humble story of disappearing Zimbabwean coffee beans would make National Geographic.

Here’s the story. Global coffee manufacturer, Nespresso this week announced the launch of Reviving Origins, a new programme to restore coffee farming in regions where it is facing danger of extinction.

Throughout this month Nespresso, a division of Nestlé, will roll out a limited edition of a high quality Arabica coffee, TAMUKA mu Zimbabwe, grown by the local coffee farming community in Manicaland , Eastern Zimbabwe.

Through its AAA (triple A) Sustainable Quality Programme, Nespresso is working with farmers in regions (Zimbabwe included) that have been blighted by conflicts, economic hardshipsand environmental disasters.

Nespresso commissioned world renowned National Geographic photographer Rena Effendi to document the impact of Reviving Origins in Zimbabwe and Colombia.

The results are now on display at a pop-up augmented reality photography exhibition in London, and online at the National Geographic website

What is clear in the photographic exhibition is how Effendi, herself a global name in world photography, went beyond the coffee call of duty, and photographed the daily lives of Zimbabweans going about their business.

The result was stunning images of children playing football on the dusty front courtyard of a Zimbabwean homestead, villagers sitting in the shade and discussing the quality of coffee beans, and how entire villages had taken pride in what Nespresso had done for them.

The news would have come at no better time after the deadly Cyclone Idai which swept through large areas of Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands in March, killed people and washed away entire livelihoods – ironically the area setting now for Reviving Origins to feature on an international platform such as National Geographic.

Nespresso is investing CHF10M over the next five years to revive the coffee industries in selected countries with the aim of encouraging rural economic development. The Reviving Origins programme is part of Nespresso’s overall commitment to invest CHF500M from 2014-2020 in its sustainability program, The Positive Cup.

Launch of single-origin coffees from Eastern Zimbabwe and Caquetá, Colombia

The announcement comes alongside the launch of new single-origin coffees from Eastern Zimbabwe and Caquetá, Colombia.These are coffees are virtually unknown to the outside world, and have been slowly disappearing for decades.

As a result of Nespresso’s investment and the commitment of partners,coffee farmers in Zimbabwe are starting to rebuild sustainable livelihoods, restore their local economies and bring much-needed development to their rural communities.

TAMUKA mu Zimbabwe and ESPERANZA de COLOMBIA will be available from today, May 8 in 18 countries – hence the news headlines on Zimbabwe Digital News.

Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso said: “Through our Reviving Origins program, we have an opportunity to bring back forgotten coffees, boost economic development in regions where there has been significant adversity and share a completely new taste experience with consumers.”

Nespresso first discovered the potential of reviving a forgotten coffee when it ventured to South Sudan in 2011. The limited edition Sulujati SOUTH SUDAN became the country’s second export after oil, and helped to diversify the economic base of the world’s youngest nation.

Building on that experience, Nespresso launched its AAA programme in Zimbabwe and the Caquetá region of Colombia (an area long inaccessible due to the conflict in the country).

Last year the global coffee giant announced plans to support the rebuilding of coffee farming in Puerto Rico after 80 percent of its coffee farms were destroyed by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Introducing TAMUKA mu Zimbabwe

 In the late 1980s, Zimbabwean coffee farmers produced over 15 000 tons of coffee. However, production almost came to a complete halt as a result of climate factors and economic instability in Zimbabwe.

By 2017, production levels were at less than 500 tons. In partnership with the global non-profit TechnoServe, Nespresso has worked with the local coffee farming community in Manicaland – to establish sustainable farming practices, bringing expert trainers and new techniques to tackle issues such as coffee processing and tree management.

The investment has helped to produce a higher quality Arabica coffee that will be available for a limited period in 18 countries.

“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,” said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe.

“As a non-profit that takes a business approach to reducing poverty, TechnoServe is excited to partner with Nespresso and the farmers of Zimbabwe to build a brighter and more prosperous future.”

TAMUKA mu ZIMBABWE is bursting with complex fruitiness and zesty, bright acidity, with notes of cranberry to red berries, and currant to grape. It has a creamy, smooth texture when you add milk, making it an ideal coffee for a Latte Macchiato.

It’s balanced and round and has sweet notes of caramel and toffee when mixed with milk.


Coffee almost disappeared in Caquetá, Colombia following 50 years of conflict, which meant many farmers abandoned their lands.

Nespresso partnered with local farmers and the Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation to support the rebuilding of this industry.

Through its AAA Sustainable Quality Programme Nespresso’s agronomists provided training and expertise on sustainable farming practices, quality development and environment and water management.

According to the Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation “The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program has had a positive social and economic impact in the Caquetá region.

It has allowed to generate new life opportunities for the coffee growing communities of San Vicente del Caguánand Florencia through the improvement of the quality of their coffee and the implementation of sustainable agriculture practices”.

ESPERANZA de COLOMBIA is a mild coffee that is very light in acidity. It’s beautifully balanced and rounded, and it has aromas of yellow fruits with a hint of a cereal note.

 Rena Effendi finds inspiration stories documented through National Geographic

Effendi, said of her travels to the coffee farms in Zimbabwe: “The strength of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. Some of these farmers have suffered terrible adversity but now I see a strong sense of hope. They are excited for the future and all the opportunities that coffee is starting to bring into their lives.”

The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program

Nespresso works with farmers through its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, which aims to create long term, sustainable quality through direct relationships with farmers.

Nespresso currently works with more than 100,000 farmers in 13 countries who benefit from hands-on support from agronomists as they learn how to develop their businesses. Working together, the agronomists and farmers look at the best growing and management practices for their crops, including technical assistance in agricultural practices to ensure quality.

Through their participation in the AAA Program, the farmers are able to improve their coffee quality and achieve better productivity and standards in environmental and social welfare.

About Nestlé Nespresso SA

 Nestlé Nespresso SA is the pioneer and reference for highest-quality portioned coffee.  The company works with more than 100,000 farmers in 13 countries through its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program to embed sustainability practices on farms and the surrounding landscapes.

Launched in 2003 in collaboration with The Rainforest Alliance, the program helps to improve the yield and quality of harvests, ensuring a sustainable supply of high quality coffee and improving livelihoods of farmers and their communities.

Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nespresso operates in 80 countries and has more than 13 000 employees. Last year the company operated a global retail network of approximately 800 boutiques.

For more information, visit the Nespresso corporate website:

Here are our top ten pictures from the Zimbabwe leg of the National Geographic and Nespresso Reviving Origins Programme.

Here are some of the highlights of National Geographic photographer Rena Effendi’s coffee assignment trip to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.

National Geographic photographer Rena Effendi at work

Coffee crop

Rebuilding Communities

Young Farmers

Picture Perfect

Village Quality Control


Laughter at the fam

Trimming Branches


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