Tanzania

The Tanzania coffee character belongs to the Central/East African family of washed (wet-processed) coffees - bright (acidic), and almost aggressively flavorful. Kenya may still produce superior coffee, but Tanzania has pushed ahead and shows many of the same positive qualities of Kenya. Coffee is grown in the North and South and there is good quality potential from both areas.

Peaberries are often sorted out and sold at premiums, but the cup is sometimes tainted and not worth the price. It has become a novelty coffee, and sells well in the US, so many roasters capitulate. Yes, it is a coffee with great potential but shipments arriving in the US do not always express that truly excellent Tanzanian cup.

One possibility is the coffee ages (or is steamed essentially) in stalled shipping containers on its way to port. Every so often I cup a really good example of this coffee, but some years are a complete bust. The problem is that Tanzania has realized it gets a premium for its peaberry no matter the quality ... so what's the incentive to actually pick and care for the coffee better, in order to prevent this defective character?

Blackburn Estate from Ngorogoro has been a consistently good arrival, the highest rated Tanzania in recent memory. Ruvuma district has also produced a solid cup. "Northern" coffees are considered to be more "generic", and Kibo has that off, baggy, "steamed in the container" note. The Southern type is a clean cup, zesty, albeit mild next to the Kenyas. In the past, we had micro-lots from Nkoanekoli and Ngorongoro that represent progress from the other regions.

I guess what I'm saying is, there is a definite range of quality coming out of Tanzania, with many top lots suffering damage during transport. So keep in mind that if there is a current Tanzanian offering listed here, not only did it have to overcome many environmental inconsistencies, it also had to overcome my cynicism and must be pretty damn good.

We currently offer these unroasted coffees:

Tanzania Bergfrieden Estate AA
$6.35
$12.07
$27.62
Drying parchment on raised beds in Tanzania
Arrival dateMarch 2014 Arrival
Appearance.2 d/300gr, 17-19 Screen
GradeAA
ProcessingWet Process (Washed)
Region
Varietal(s)Various
Intensity/Prime attributeMedium intensity / Complex sugars, juicy body, refreshing acidity
RoastCity+ to Full City roast level.
We haven't picked up much coffee from Tanzania in recent years. Harvesting and post-harvest processing can be an issue, and in some zones the erratic water supply and rain has quite an affect the cup. Transit to the very humid port of Dar es Salaam, or delays in loading and shipping, also create high potential for coffee damage. But even so, we don't really see that many samples from Tanzania that are much interest to us in the first place, lacking the overall power of nearby Kenya lots. But this year, we received a few really nice samples from an Importer we work with who are bringing in lots from the West. Of those, there were a couple that really had us excited, including this one from Bergfrieden Estate, an Estate that was awarded top 25 at Tanzania's recent 'Taste of Harvest'. It's a really nice coffee, and we wound up grabbing the PB lot from this out-turn as well. This peaberry stood out as having great balance of sweetness, acidity, and cleanliness
The dry fragrance has nice baking spice elements, like all-spice, and cinnamon, and with a persistent sweetness of light brown sugar that only grows with the addition of hot water. The wet aroma is very sweet, and City+ roasts retain a simple, yet refined dark sugar/caramel scent, while Full City roasts bring out a bit of vanilla bean and even a hint of dried fruits on the break. Cupping this coffee at City/City+ level brings out fruit flavors of golden raisin and apple. It's sweet, to say the least, and has a deep raw sugar flavor from start to finish. This is a fairly bodied coffee, and roast definitely bolsters this characteristic. Full City roasts have a juiciness that carries slight fruit notes with it. This is a very clean cup, and with a nice balance of sweetness, refreshing acidity, and even a slight tannic sensation in the finish. City+ and Full CIty roasts make a great brewed cup of coffee.
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