International best-selling author launches 44 Scotland Street coffee brand with the Scotland Malawi Partnership
Fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series are in for a treat next time they want a cuppa.
The international best-selling author has helped create a Scotland Street coffee brand and has written a special-edition story exclusively for those who buy it.
What’s more, all profits from the new coffee are being donated 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.
Supported by the Scotland Malawi Partnership, the coffee is grown by the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union (MCPCU) Ltd, a democratic and empowered group of 2,500 farmers. One in four are women and they all own the assets of their collective growing, processing and sales activities.
It is then roasted and packaged – at cost price – by Edinburgh coffee and tea merchants Brodies.
Speaking at the launch, in Edinburgh’s Elephant House café-restaurant, McCall Smith said he is delighted to be working with the Scotland Malawi Partnership.
“Part of the action in the 44 Scotland Street novels takes place in Big Lou’s coffee bar,” he said. “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.”
The Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) is the national civil society network coordinating, supporting and representing links between the two nations.
It represents a community of 94,000 Scots with active links to Malawi including the Mamie Martin Fund.
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!”
Brodie’s, which is selling Scotland Street Coffee, describe it as a medium roast with a mellow acidity with a slight nuttiness and hints of fruit.
The bean, it says, has benefited from the altitude and warm climate of Malawi – which was actually introduced to coffee by Scotland in the 1870s when the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh gifted the country a plant.
Ralph Lutton, managing director of Brodies, said: “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.”
The Scotland Street Coffee label (above) is designed by Edinburgh-based Illustrator, Iain McIntosh.