Tanzanian Blue MountainTanzania
About the coffee
The first coffee grown in the Kilimanjaro region was planted by Catholic missionaries in Kilema at the end of the 19th Century. Throughout the 20th century, western demand for coffee grew and as a result cultivation spread through many regions of Tanzania. This appeared first by locals growing as a cash crop in 1919, before coming together to form the Kilimanjaro Native Planters Association (KNPA) to protect their interests after settling westerners expressed concern over diseases and pests being caused by the expanding cultivation of coffee. This in turn lead to the establishment of the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union Limited which registered under the Co – Operative Societies Ordinance of 1932.
The Cooperative model continues with Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) working with producers, and Cooperative Unions being licensed to handle the exporting. This coffee comes from Uru Cooperative Society and Tujitume Cooperative (AMCOS), and is exported by Mambo Cooperative Union under the name Yetu Tamu, or ‘Our coffee is sweet’. Mambo were founded in 2011 when Athanasio Massenha saw a growth in the price of speciality coffee being sold but not passed back to the farmers and wanted to change this so that the farmers received more. They now employ 3 agronomists as supervisors to both advise and assist the producer groups they work with in the field, as this is prohibitively expensive for the individual farmers and AMCOS.
The Uru Cooperative Society members have found output has more than halved over the last twenty years as prices dropped and costs rose. Each with around 0.5 – 2 acres that reduces as it is divided amongst the next generation, leading to younger people leaving the area. Farmers average age has risen which means a lot of coffee is processed on the farm as they are less able to transport the coffee to a CPU. This is where being a member of a cooperative can really deliver value.
Cherries are picked ripe with repeated sweeps of the same plot occurring every couple of weeks or so. If not taken to a local collection processing centre, known as a CPU, beans are pulped and fermented at home to prevent spoilage before being taken by the cooperative as cherry. Here it is processed and collated before being transported in parchment and offered for sale through the Tanzanian Coffee Board, which distributes samples to exporting companies and auctions the lots. Once bought, the coffee is further ‘milled’ by Mambo’s facility in Morogoro which means any defects are removed, the beans are laser colour sorted, hand-picked if needed and then bagged.
Bourbon was introduced by the French Missionaries and is common in the Kilimanjaro area, alongside Kent which was introduced from India. Kent is notable for being the first varietal selected for its rust resistance.
Mringa Estate is located in the North section of Tanzania, not far from Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the highest peak in Tanzania. The area was founded in 1867 and has been producing quality beans ever since. The lower slopes of the mountain, provide fertile soil, with the climate providing excellent conditions for the coffee trees to grow. Very similar to Kenyan coffee but finishing on a much lighter acidity.
About the growers
Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain.
Our Southern Highlands is a blend of AA and AB lots from a number of Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (or, AMCOS) that work with our Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) colleagues at Ibero Tanzania, the country’s largest exporter.
“Some of these southern AMCOS are producing such good coffee now,” the team at Ibero tells us. “Many are even better than estate coffees.”
In 2018, changes in federal regulations determined that each village could have only one AMCOS. The Ibero Tanzania team has since been working with a number of AMCOS across southern Tanzania, helping them to build efficient and cost-effective washing stations. Ibero also lent them funding to purchase materials for the stations, with a repayment arrangement of three years. The arrangement was so successful that upon repayment, many of the AMCOS requested the loan again, to this time purchase their own de-pulpers.
Region: Mbeya Mbozi
Growing Altitude: 1700- 2000 masl
Arabica Variety: Bourbon, Kent
Harvest Period: July-October
Milling Process: Fully washed, sun dried on raised beds
Flavour: Grapes, Lime, Raspberry
Cupping Score: 84
- Tangerine, Black tea, bright acidity with silky body.
- With hints of pear and a light zesty acidity.
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