IN a collaboration between Scotland and Malawi, international best-selling author, Alexander McCall Smith, CBE is championing a new coffee, the sales of which will support small-holder farmers in Malawi and enable girls there to receive a secondary school education.
Professor McCall Smith has gifted use of the name of his global hit series of novels 44 Scotland Street to create a Scotland Street Coffee brand which was launched last week in Edinburgh.
McCall Smith has also written a special-edition story, exclusively for the entertainment of buyers of the coffee.
Edinburgh coffee and tea merchants, Brodies are roasting and packaging the Malawian coffee at cost and donating all profits from the sale of Scotland Street Coffee to the Mamie Martin Fund, a Scottish charity which pays for the tuition fees, textbooks and uniforms for girls in Malawi who would otherwise be unable to afford a secondary school education.
The Elephant House Café-Restaurant, Edinburgh has been a key partner in the collaboration which hosted the Scotland Street Coffee launch.
The Scotland Street Coffee label has been designed by Edinburgh-based Illustrator, Iain McIntosh.
Coffee was first introduced to Malawi from Scotland in the 1870s with a plant from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
READ MORE - 44 Scotland Street episodes 1 - 5
Scotland Street Coffee is grown by the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union (MCPCU) Ltd, a democratic and empowered group of 2,500 farmers (25 per cent women) who own the assets of their collective growing, processing and sales activities.
The Scotland Street Coffee initiative is supported by the Scotland Malawi Partnership.
Alexander McCall Smith said: “Part of the action in the 44 Scotland Street novels takes place in Big Lou’s coffee bar. I am delighted that now the readers of the series can drink the very coffee that Big Lou serves and, at the same time, make a contribution to the wonderful work that the Scotland Malawi Partnership does.
READ MORE - Scotland’s Malawi ties are not a one way charity
Ralph Lutton, MD of Brodies said:
Malawi is not the first country that comes to mind when you think of coffee growing regions. With the decline of the tobacco trade we are seeing many farmers diversify into coffee growing and as it was a Scot who introduced coffee to Malawi, it felt a natural fit that we should bring Malawian coffee back to Scotland to be roasted. The sale of Scotland Street coffee not only helps secure the future for the Malawian farmers but by donating our profits helps educate girls who would not get the opportunity otherwise.
Moira Dunworth, Trustee of the Mamie Martin Fund said:
The Mamie Martin Fund is thrilled to be the recipient of the profits of this imaginative new product. Having worked in the North of Malawi for 23 years we know that girls’ education supports the development of the whole community and has a long-lasting impact on this and future generations. Great coffee, great package, great story and what an impact!