Picture of Mount Kilimanjaro with coffee plants in foreground

Tanzania’s Coffee Heritage Illuminated in Black History Month

This February, we are recognizing Black History in coffee with a spotlight on Tanzania Zanzibar Peaberry. The global growth and recognition of Black History Month underscores the importance of acknowledging and learning about the diverse experiences and contributions of Black people worldwide and to promote understanding, inclusivity, and appreciation for Black history and culture. Black farmers have played a pivotal yet often unacknowledged role in shaping the global coffee industry. Originating in Africa, coffee cultivation has deep historical roots tied to the expertise of black farmers. Their cultivation practices, knowledge, and traditions laid the foundation for the worldwide coffee culture we enjoy today.

Black coffee farmers have confronted enduring challenges throughout history and continue to face systemic barriers in the present day. Historically, they grappled with land dispossession, discriminatory policies, and limited access to resources. In the contemporary coffee industry, black farmers often encounter difficulties in securing fair prices for their produce, navigating complex supply chains, and accessing financial support. Land ownership remains a persistent issue, exacerbating disparities.

Coffee has deep historical roots in Africa, where it is believed to have originated. In Tanzania, black farmers have contributed significantly to the coffee industry through innovative practices. Songwa Estates have employed sustainable and organic farming methods, emphasizing environmental stewardship and community development. The Wakulima Wa Kiwazaji Coop focuses on improving farming techniques, ensuring fair trade, and enhancing the economic well-being of its members. The innovations extend to processing methods like sun-drying beans and experimenting with unique varietal to develop and enhance flavor profiles.

Tanzania, with its favorable climate and high-altitude regions, has been a significant contributor to the cultivation of Arabica coffee. Tanzania Peaberry coffee has a rich history steeped in the unique geography and coffee cultivation practices of Tanzania. The term “peaberry” refers to a distinct coffee bean formation where a single, rounded seed develops inside the coffee cherry instead of the usual two flat-sided beans. This anomaly results in a smaller, more concentrated bean known for its distinctive flavor profile.

You can find the Tanzania Zanzibar Peabody the month of February on the shelves as a single origin. It is also in our Spring Blend Mud Season.

The origins of Tanzanian Peaberry trace back to the fertile regions around Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, where Arabica coffee thrives at high altitudes. The smallholder farmers in these areas adopted meticulous cultivation techniques, contributing to the coffee’s exceptional quality. The peaberry mutation occurs naturally in coffee varieties, but Tanzanian producers recognized its unique attributes and began selectively harvesting and processing peaberries separately.

Renowned for its bright acidity, medium body, and complex, wine-like flavors, Tanzanian Peaberry coffee gained international acclaim. It often presents vibrant fruity and floral notes, creating a sensory experience cherished by coffee enthusiasts.

Tanzania’s governmental infrastructure is integral to the nation’s position as a key player in the global coffee market. It’s crucial in regulating, promoting, and supporting the coffee sector. The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) is a central institution overseeing the industry, ensuring adherence to quality standards, and facilitating trade. Government policies aim to empower small holder farmers, enhance productivity, and promote sustainable practices.

Additionally, initiatives such as the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) contribute to agricultural advancements, improving crop varieties and farming techniques. The government’s commitment to fair trade practices and sustainable development aligns with global standards, fostering a thriving coffee industry that benefits both farmers and the nation’s economy. Through a well-structured infrastructure, Tanzania continues to navigate challenges and leverage opportunities, securing its position as a prominent coffee-producing nation on the world stage.

Tasting Notes: Tanzania Peaberry Zanibar

Tanzania Peaberry Zanzibar is a premium blend from high-altitude estates in Southern Tanzania (often, the Lunji, Utengule and Kanji Lanji estates) and Northern Tanzania (the Mondul, Burka, Ngila and Lyamungu estates).

Southern Estates- located in Mbozi and Mbeya, in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Although total production is usually less than 500 metric tons, the coffee from the Utengule, Lunji and Kanji Lalji estates has a very good reputation. The Utengule coffee estate is a traditional, well-managed East African coffee farm that produces exquisite quality. There is a large variety of rare trees and flowers growing on the farm as well as several rivers. By walking through the 500-acre coffee estate you can explore how coffee is being grown, harvested and processed.

Mondul Estate- This farm was developed by Count Vottorio Davico di Quittengo in 1931 after a careful inspection of the fertile and uninhabited areas on the slopes of the Mondul mountains in Northern Tanganyika. He fell in love with East Africa after working briefly for the Central Africa Exploration Company in Uganda. After convincing his family in Italy to assist him in the purchase of the land, the

Mondul Coffee Estate was founded. Count Davico died in 1983 and was buried at Mondul on the highest hill overlooking the estate. His two sons are now running the estate with the same entrepreneurial spirit and social commitment of their father.

Burka Estate- This farm was established in 1899 by German settlers and has continued as a coffee producing farm. The estate covers an area of 1500 acres with an annual production of 1000 metric tons. The estate is also home to the Arusha Coffee Lodge, which has coffee plantation tours, horseback riding, mountain biking, and nature trails.

Ngila Estate- This estate is situated in the Karatu District on the slopes of the Ngorongoro crater and is surrounded by the Ngila Forest reserve. It was founded in the 20th century by a German family and later taken over by British farmers after the WWII, who sold it to Ruldolf Meyer in 1990.

Lyamungu Estate- Lyamungu is located on the southern foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, approximately 15km from the Moshi/Arusha main highway. It was established in 1934 as a center for coffee research in Tanzania and is now leased to the Mufindi Tea Company.
Cupping notes: Caramel, stone fruit, chocolate, nutty, green tea; citric acidity, juicy body.

Region
Northern and Southern Tanzania
Growing Altitude: 1,400 – 1,800 masl
Arabica Variety: N & KP, Kent, Bourbon
Harvest Period: July – August (North); April – May (South)
Milling Process: Washed, sun-dried
Aroma: Sweet pipe tobacco
Flavor: Tangerine, cranberry, chocolate
Body: Good
Acidity: Bright, Pungent, Citric

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