The Tanzania coffee character belongs to the East African family of washed (wet-processed) coffees: It is bright (acidic), and almost aggressively flavorful. Often compared to Kenya, Tanzania has pushed ahead and shows many of the same positive qualities of Kenya. Coffee is grown in the North and South primarily, and there is good quality potential from both areas. An issue with Tanzania coffee is the system of marketing and exporting, as well as long transit times. It leads to a degradation of the original quality. We have started working in more direct ways in Tanzania, to select specific lots from farmer groups, and promote specific, attractive flavor profiles. Click Here to read more.
Tarime is the capital town of a unique coffee growing area in Tanzania's North Mara district. What makes it unique is the distance of Mara from the other well-known coffee areas around Mount Kilimanjaro and Arusha, as well as the Southern areas of Mbinga and Mbeya. Tarime is between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and Lake Victoria. I knew that the area of Lake Victoria had coffee, but of the robusta species, and from the other side of Victoria near Bukoba. Tarime has a handicap because it is over 1200 km by road to the port at Dar Es Salaam, making for high transport costs over hot, dusty roads. But more remarkable than location is how clean and fresh this coffee tastes: With all the logistics challenges to ship coffee from Dar in general, and Tarime in particular, this is a brilliant arrival. It's a peaberry outturn, the small, round coffee bean that is separated from normal flat beans in dry milling the coffee before export. I'll add that when I roasted this coffee, I noticed that the sound of 1st crack is on the subtle side. In fact, if I didn't have a bean probe on my roaster I would've missed 1st crack altogether, but happened to notice that I was a few degrees beyond my normal "1st crack" temperature and hadn't heard anything. Looking at the beans themselves, I did see that fracturing had occurred and was able to hear some popping at very low volume. I paid closer attention on my second pass, and hear a couple snaps when I would expect them, but then not a lot else as the roast continued to progress. Long story short, watch this one when roasting to make sure the roast doesn't get away from you!
The peaberry outturn from Tarime is a real powerhouse, dry fruit and loose leaf dry tea notes accent a clean, syrupy sweetness as the dry fragrance suggests. City/City+ roasts hint at fruit teas in the ground coffee, elderberry comes to mind, even a citrusy waft in our lightest roast, and with a caramel-like sweetness. Adding hot water brings up more of a cooked fruit smell with caramelizing sugar sweetness, like berry compote, and plum jam. The cup is brisk at City to City+ roast levels, showing clean, black tea-like acidity. As the cup temperature cools more tea notes unfold, along with a cardamom spice note that shows surprising prominence. Citrus accent notes flourish - blood orange, pink grapefruit, and more - along with a tart green grape flavor, that fade to bittersweet coffee core. The weight of this peaberry coffee is impressive and like fruit juice on the palette, lending to a long lasting aftertaste. Versatile in the roaster, I prefer the middle roast levels where fruit flavors and body are both juicy, and mouth cleansing acidity ties together the fruited cup complexity. This is the perfect "dessert" type coffee, a complexity and sweetness that are easy to identify in light to middle roasts, and sure to turn the heads of even those who think all coffee tastes the same!