Our Tanzania Kitamu Peaberry Microlot has been sourced from several estate producers in the northern Karatu District of Tanzania’s Arusha Region. Kitamu, meaning “sweet” in Swahili is used when describing something with a delicious taste and was chosen for this coffee for its delicious and complex acidity, citrusy notes and balanced, dark chocolate-like body.
The District of Karatu has become famous for its proximity to the nearby Ngorongoro Crater, an enormous volcanic caldera and popular tourist destination that is a national conservation area and U.N. National Heritage site. Naturally, the area’s mineral-rich soil is perfect for growing arabica coffee, but Ngorongoro is also the ideal home to many of Africa’s most beloved animal species, such as elephants, buffalos, hippopotamus and lions. The nearby Serengeti National Park, ancestral home to the Masaai and Iraqw Tribes is likewise filled with an abundance of native plant and animals.
Unfortunately for the region’s coffee producers, many of their farms have over time been badly damaged by local populations of buffalo and elephant. As a result, estate owners and farmers have spent a great deal of time in the last 10 years building game channels throughout their farms to allow these animals to safely pass through without interfering with coffee production.
The majority of our Tanzania Kitamu Peaberry Microlot is made up of washed Bourbon, Kent and SL32 variety coffees from Heights Estate and Kongoni Estate. Heights Estate is located just 4.5 miles from the town of Karatu. Its peak elevation reaches 5,839 feet, making Heights Estate the highest coffee plantation in the region, hence its name. Kongoni Estate is located on the south western slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater and covers a large area of over 988 acres of coffee.
This Tanzania Kitamu Peaberry Microlot from Arusha is grown just 50 miles or so south west of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak (16,000 feet from base to summit) and an extinct stratovolcano. Since the late 1800’s the majority of Tanzania’s high quality arabica coffee has been produced in the vicinity of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where the volcanic soil and abundant intercropping of mostly tall banana trees for natural shade provide excellent growing conditions for small farm coffee growers.
Tanzania borders a few of the great East African coffee producers, namely Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda. Cooperative growing is the norm in Tanzania with independent, small farms accounting for approximately 90% of the annual production. Practically all of Tanzania’s exported coffee is of the washed type, and although there is a small contingent of robusta grown at lower altitudes, the vast majority is arabica. In the late 1800s German colonists were responsible for arabica’s introduction and with it an array of laws that mandated its cultivation.
Historically the Haya tribe in the northwest were the only people that possessed a documented, pre-German use of coffee, believed to have arrived from Ethiopia via Kenya. Fast forward a hundred years — following the formation of an independent Tanzanian state that instituted a series of unsuccessful government-controlled initiatives aimed at consolidating production, reforms were made in the 1990s that helped open up the industry to independent, privately run co-ops. At this time the Tanzanian Coffee Board (previously The Coffee Authority of Tanzania) was re-established and given limited authority to issue licensing permits for cultivation, sales and exports.
Moreover the board handles all inspections and grading as well as the Moshi Coffee Auction, a weekly Kenya-style auction in Kilimanjaro that gives farmers similar access to international buyers and licensed local exporters. Tanzania coffee farmers can also utilize specialized services and receive an education in modernized agricultural made available through the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute, which was founded as a non-profit in 2000 to assist the nation’s approximately 2.4 million coffee growers.
|Variety:||Bourbon, Kent, SL32|
|Altitude:||4,593 - 5,577 ft (1400 - 1700m)|
|Coffee Grading:||PB Microlot|
|Harvest:||August - December|