Somewhat similar to Kenya coffee, Tanzania coffee beans also exhibits a bright and vibrant, winy acidity, sometimes even sharp, and with a deep, rich, and strong taste. Typically with a medium to full body that is intense and creamy, a fine Tanzania coffee has a sweet berry-like, fruity flavor and sometimes notes of cedar.
Growing Altitude: 1,400 – 1,800 meters above sea levelArabica Variety: N & KP, Kent, BourbonHarvest Period: July – August (North); April – May (South)Milling Process: Washed, Sun-driedAroma: Soft Pipe TobaccoFlavor: Black Tea, Kiwi, Chocolate, Lemon, BlackberryBody: GoodAcidity: Bright, Pungent, Citric
Tanzania Coffee Aroma and Aftertaste
The acidity levels of Tanzania coffee are slightly muted compared to Kenyan coffee, are also less consistent with a milder body. Although the fruit and acidity are more understated they still shine brightly. Ground, dry Tanzania coffee may present a sweet molasses fragrance that is slightly floral with notes of apple fruit.
Roasting Tanzania Coffee
Tanzania Coffee Processing
Tanzania’s overall green coffee production quality and consistency is also far behind the production quality of Kenya coffee. The winey acidity of Tanzania coffee has been compared to Arabian coffees as well as African coffees.
Distinguished Tanzania Coffees
Three of the most distinctive coffees of Tanzania are Moshi, Arusha, and Kilimanjaro, all grown on the hills of Mt. Kilimanjaro near the Tanzania’s border with Kenya. Tanzania’s high elevation qualifies almost all of its coffee as Strictly High Grown (SHG).
Also respected, but grown in smaller quantities, are Mbeya (the name of a principal town) and Pare (a market name) grown further south between Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika in southern Tanzania.
Tanzanian Arusha is a market name for the Arusha varietal coffee plant grown on the hills of Mt. Meru as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Arusha varietal is an Arabica coffee plant varietal that is either a Typica or French Mission variety.
Tanzania Coffee Plant Varietals
Green Coffee Farming and Production in Tanzania
It is estimated that about 400,000 farming families obtain revenue from coffee, and the crop comprises about 20 percent of Tanzania’s export earnings. Similar to other regions in the world, some percentage of harvested coffee beans are peaberry, which contain a single bean per coffee fruit rather than the typical 2, and are separated to be sold as premium quality. A single bean is able to develop flavours more fully, being given the nutrients of two beans instead of one, and the more uniform size allows for better flavor development during roasting.
Tanzania is the third largest coffee producer in Africa and produces about one percent of the world’s Arabica coffee. It qualifies as Strictly High Grown (SHG) / Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) arabica, which requires higher elevation growing areas (e.g., 1,400 to 2,000 meters above sea level) than Robusta coffee. The majority of Tanzanian green coffee beans are exported by brokers and sold to wholesalers and distributors in other countries.
Most of Tanzania’s Arabica coffee is grown in the Kilimanjaro region as well as in the Southern Highlands. Some consistently highly-rated Tanzania coffees include Ruvuma as well as the Blackburn Estate of Ngorogoro.
Coffee Growing Regions in Tanzania
Tanzania’s major coffee growing regions include Arusha (Meru), the Moshi district (on the slopes of Kilimanjaro), Oldeani (in the Arusha region), and Pare, the high plateau between Lake Taganyika and Lake Nyassa as well as Songea, the capital of the Ruvuma region of southeastern Tanzania where the Ruvuma River forms most of the southern boundary with Mozambique.
Coffees that come from southern Tanzania tend to benefit from better drying conditions as well as better access to transportation which is a big advantage since a lot of the criticism of defective Tanzanian coffee batches comes from being “steamed” in the shipping containers in transit. Also see Tanzania Peaberry Coffee; Tanzania Kilimanjaro Coffee.