Zambia - MC Grecof

Go to content

Main menu:


Coffee > Africa





The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the South Africa Company from 1891 until takeover by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections in 1991 brought an end to one-party rule, but the subsequent vote in 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties.



Southern Africa, east of Angola


15° 00' S, 30° 00' E

Map references:



total: 752,614 sq km
land: 740,724 sq km
water: 11,890 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 5,664 km
border countries: Angola 1,110 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,930 km, Malawi 837 km, Mozambique 419 km, Namibia 233 km, Tanzania 338 km, Zimbabwe 797 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked


tropical; modified by altitude; rainy season (October to April)


mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Zambezi river 329 m
highest point: unnamed location in Mafinga Hills 2,301 m

Geography - note






estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)


noun: Zambian(s)
adjective: Zambian

Ethnic groups:

African 98.7%, European 1.1%, other 0.2%


Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%-49%, indigenous beliefs 1%


English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Zambia
conventional short form: Zambia
former: Northern Rhodesia

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

9 provinces; Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Southern, Western


24 October 1964 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 24 October (1964)


2 August 1991

Flag description:

green with a panel of three vertical bands of red (hoist side), black, and orange below a soaring orange eagle, on the outer edge of the flagUnabhängigkeitstag, 24. Oktober 1964


Economy - overview:

Despite progress in privatization and budgetary reform, Zambia's economy has a long way to go. Privatization of government-owned copper mines relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. In late 2000, Zambia was determined to be eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Inflation and unemployment rates remain high, but the GDP growth rate should rise in 2001.

Budget- revenues:

$900 million
expenditures: $1 billion, including capital expenditures of NA million (1999 est.)


copper mining and processing, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer

Agriculture - products:

corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seed, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca); cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides; coffee


Zambian kwacha (ZMK)

Currency code:




2,164 km (1995)
narrow gauge: 2,164 km 1.067-m gauge (13 km double track)
note: the total includes 891 km of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), which operates 1,860 km of 1.067-m narrow gauge track between Dar es Salaam and Kapiri Mposhi where it connects to the Zambia Railways system; TAZARA is not a part of the Zambia Railways system; Zambia Railways assets are scheduled for concessioning in 2001


total: 66,781 km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (1997 est.)


2.250 km


includes Lake Tanganyika and the Zambezi and Luapula river


crude oil 1,724 km

Ports and harbors:



From the country formerly known as upper Rhodesia in a country now named for the Zambezi River, Zambian coffees range from Kenya-like brightness to subtle, balanced coffee with complexity, body and nuanced flavours... Zambia has variable quality: it has the potential to be outstanding, and it can be very off-tasting and defective.

Coffee is grown in the Northern district of the Muchinga Mountains (regions of Nakonde, Kasama and Isoka) and in the vicinity of the capital city of Lusaka. Coffee was introduced in the 1950's with cultivar seedstock from Tanzania and Kenya.

The 1999 crop produced some real duds not expect that every coffee with an exotic East African name will be good! In fact, I think the logistics of shipping these coffees can result in some of the loss of flavor, or in the case of Tanzanian, baggy flavors from being stored in shipping containers in port cities for too long! If it is good coffee, it has to be handled properly and shipped quickly, and when I cup them its very easy to weed out the ones that haven't.

The 2000 crop ranged from unremarkable estate coffees to very poor quality generic stocklots of peaberry and flatbean. These were widely available, and I thought they were all very poor in the cup. It is sad to know that these low quality lots are ruining a good origins reputation, and that some "specialty" roaster somewhere is buying this stuff and selling it as "good" coffee.

The 2001 crop is a mized bag, but we have found an excellent coffee from the Isanya Estate -very potent and perhaps not for every palate due to distinct wild notes in the cup.

Back to content | Back to main menu