CUPPING NOTES: Sweet and tart with lots of cooked fruit flavor, chocolate, berry and winey.
Ngila Estate is a 250-hectare farm that is planted with 150,000 coffee trees on 100 hectares of land. The farm has been RFA and Utz certified for a decade, and the owners use traditional methods to fertilize as well as to control pests and diseases, especially focusing on biodiversity.
With its relatively close proximity to Ethiopia, and its shared border with Kenya, some of Tanzania’s population has had a long history and culture relationship with coffee, namely the Haya people, for whom the plant was not used so much as a beverage as a chewed fruit. Coffee (probably Robusta) was grown for this domestic purpose until German colonists essentially mandated that farmers grow Arabica coffee as a cash crop, spreading the plants’ reach within the country and developing the industry around Mount Kilimanjaro.
Germany lost control of the colony to the British after the First World War, and the British attempted to develop a more efficient and profitable coffee industry along the lines of Kenya’s. Cooperatives of smallholder farmers started to organize in the 1920s to try to improve market access, but it was many years before Tanzanian coffees really caught on internationally.
In 1964, after both countries achieved independence from Britain, Tanganyika and Zanzibar were combined to establish the Republic of Tanzania—hence the country’s name, Tan/Zania. Growers attempted aggressive growth in the 1970s but had difficulty increasing production. The 1990s saw efforts to reform and privatize coffee exports, allowing growers to sell more directly. Today, in most of the Western world, Tanzanian coffees are famous primarily as separated-out peaberry lots.