Tanzania coffee flavors and the facts of it’s production

    Tanzania coffee

    Tanzania, the home to one of the world's biggest challenges. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has a place on many a Bucket List. I challenge you to add something else to that Bucket List. Try a cup of Tanzania coffee. Not quite as scary, hey?

    This East African country borders some high-profile coffee producers. It's near Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. The geography alone suggests that the country produces some coffee beans worth talking about.

    The Tanzanian Coffee Industry

    Coffee production in Tanzania is somewhat primitive compared to some other African countries. It's not able to produce the same quality coffee as places like Kenya. That's not to say the country isn't producing awesome coffee. With a diverse, hilly landscape, many regions in Tanzania are perfect for growing coffee plants.

    Coffee production is spread over the country. Western, southern and northern regions all produce their own coffee beans. Production and processing methods may vary between regions. For this reason, the flavor of your cup may change.

    Some coffee plants are grown on the hills of Mount Kilimanjaro. These plants produce the three most distinctive coffees from Tanzania. They are called Moshi, Arusha, and Kilimanjaro. The high elevations here are beneficial for the coffee beans. It creates the highest quality beans. These beans earn themselves the title of Strictly High Grown (SHG).

    Tanzanian coffee grown on mount Kilimanjaro hills

    Kilimanjaro provides an exotic growing environment for coffee beans. They grow under the shade of banana trees. Mostly, smallholders grow coffee beans. They can process the coffee with a hand pulper or send it to wet mills. There, larger estates process the beans. They pulp and wash the ripe cherries that same day.

    Then, they store them in fermentation tanks for 48 hours. The cherries are washed again before being dried. Coffee in Tanzania is graded by quality and bean size. The highest and most sought after grade is AA. This is followed by A, AB, B, PB, C.

    Coffee is bringing employment and revenue to Tanzania. Like many other African countries, Tanzania might struggle without this special export. Right now, coffee makes up around 20% of Tanzania's export income. It creates employment for around 400,000 farming families.

    What Does Tanzania Coffee Taste Like?

    Tanzania coffee beans have similar traits to those from Kenya. If you've never tried Kenyan coffee, this reference may draw a blank in your mind! Of course, it has many of its own great characteristics, too. Before digging into your pocket, let's check out this coffee profile.

    Tasty Tanzanian coffee
    • These coffee beans showcase a bright acidity.
    • A cup of coffee can have a deep, rich taste. Tanzania coffee doesn't shy away from flavor! You can drink it as a single-origin cup and enjoy the taste to its fullest.
    • Some of the coffees from the Kilimanjaro region are softer. They may have floral profiles and taste similar to washed Ethiopia coffees.
    • The overall taste is sweet and fruity, with berry notes.
    • Depending on the region your coffee comes from, you might experience a range of flavors. The beans can taste of anything from kiwi, to blackberries, to chocolate.
    • The coffee roaster can highly influence the end result. A city roast will show off the floral scent. Roasting to a dark roast brings out a berry or pepper spice flavor.

    Have you tried Tanzania coffee? Did you notice any other undertones of flavor that we've missed?

    What is Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee?

    Tanzanian Peaberry coffee (PB) is a special type of coffee! Each fruit contains a single coffee bean, instead of the usual two beans. Although this might sound less effective, it actually has many benefits. A single bean can develop flavors to a deeper level during roasting. The peaberry fruit contains a single, rounded bean instead of two flat beans.

    tanzanian peaberry coffee

    The more uniform size is also good for flavor development. Even better, less beans doesn't mean less nutrients! Most people believe that the nutrients of two beans are contained in the single bean. PB has a high acidity and makes a very clean coffee. It has a higher caffeine content and the beans create a better aroma, too.

    For the above reasons, they can be sold as premium quality for a higher price. Most of the coffee from Tanzania that is sold to the states is peaberry.

    Still confused about what exactly peaberry coffee is? Well, you're not alone! Most people categorize coffee as Arabica or Robusta. Peaberry is a variety of its own. As a result, you can get Arabica peaberry or Robusta peaberry. Tanzania produces 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta beans in total.

    8 Quick Facts about Tanzania Coffee

    Tanzania coffee cherries
    1. Tanzania is one of the top coffee producers in Africa. It comes in at number 3.
    2. Tanzania began growing Arabica coffee way back in the 1890's. The very first variety grown there was Bourbon.
    3. Coffee is the country's largest export crop. It produces around 30-40,000 metric tons per year!
    4. A number of varieties can be called "Kilimanjaro Coffee" even if it didn't grow here. Kilimanjaro Coffee is a brand name with a strong presence in Japan. Japan remains the largest importer of the beans.
    5. The country is the 19th largest coffee producer on the planet.
    6. Coffee exports collect over $60 million every year for the Tanzanian economy.
    7. When coffee first came to Tanzania, the locals used it a little differently. They chewed the coffee instead of brewing it. The Haya tribe even used coffee beans as money!
    8. Only 10% of Tanzanian coffee comes from large estates and big companies. The rest comes from small farming families.

    The Bottom Line

    Ever wanted to drink a cup of coffee from some of the world's most famous mountains? Who's stopping you?! The best-known Tanzania coffee comes straight from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Depending on the region, you can expect a range of flavors. Some may surprise you. Some flavors may be mild, and others strong and sharp. My advice? Stick with the modern-day method; brew it, don't chew it!

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