Coffee – Tanzania Tweega
Grade – AA
Altitude – 1400-2000 masl
Location – Mbeya, Southern Highlands
Preparation – Washed and sun-dried on African beds
Variety – Bourbon and Typica
Harvest – June to August
Tanzania is a country famed for its diverse culture, national parks, Mt Kilimanjaro and the stunning coastline which borders the Indian Ocean – it is, however, less known for its impressive coffee production when compared with some of its neighbouring countries, Kenya and Rwanda.
Coffee is Tanzania’s largest export crop and it is thought that ninety-five percent of the coffee produced is done so by smallholder farmers and their families (supporting roughly 4.5million people) who often have small plots of 5 hectares or less. Coffee is grown alongside subsistence crops such as bananas and maize and the remainder of the countries production comes from larger, privately owned estates. It is the fourth largest producer in Africa with
nearly 75% of its annual production being Arabica.
Arabica seedlings were first introduced to the country in the 16th century from Ethiopia and Réunion (Bourbon) Island and were traditionally ‘chewed’ as a stimulant by The Haya tribe who came to use them as money. Following German colonisation in the late 19th century, coffee began to be cultivated as a cash crop and exports increased three-fold in the early 20th century. The British then took control of what is now modern-day Tanzania after World
War I and started a coffee program which saw over ten million seedlings being planted, increasing production further. Today, both Arabica and Robusta are grown in the areas of Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Arusha in the North-East, Kagera, Mara and Kigoma in the North-West and Mbeya in the South.
Traditionally, Tanzania’s potential for producing quality coffee has been challenging to fulfil due to the logistical difficulty faced when trying to export. However, there is a clear commitment to the creation of a profitable coffee industry in Tanzania and the TaCRI (Tanzania Coffee Research Institute) was established in 2001 with this aim.
With the help of our sister company, TEMBO Coffee, we have been able to access some fantastic micro lots from the Mbeya region in the Southern Highlands. This area produces over half of Tanzania’s Arabica coffee but has previously struggled to attract investment. TEMBO have therefore invested in a green grading facility to improve and classify the coffee before it’s exported. They also work closely with fertilizer companies to provide
agronomy training and fertilizer to the farmer groups and help them find access to market.
In Swahili, the word ‘Tweega’ means ‘giraffe’ which, according to TEMBO, is a very fitting word for this coffee. The long neck of a giraffe is representative of the never-ending search for the best quality coffee and the black tongue comes from drinking too much of it!
This blend, Tanzania Tweega, comes from around 10,000 smallholder’s who have hand-picked their crop and delivered it to 20 washing stations around the region, all of which adhere to the strict quality standards enforced by TEMBO. Once there, the cherries are sorted to separate the ripes from the unripes before being pulped to remove the skin. They are then left to undergo dry fermentation for around 12-15 hours to loosen the mucilage before being washed with clean water. The washing process is repeated to ensure the coffee is clean before it is channelled through water to remove any floaters. Finally, the washed beans are taken to raised African beds to dry (which can take around 12-15 days) before being sorted and graded at TEMBO’s facility in Mbeya for export.