Coffee was introduced into the Tanzanian region from modern day Ethiopia in the 16th century. Coffee was not really brewed in the region but was used as a stimulant. Through oral sources in the region the Haya tribe located in northwest Tanzania in modern-day Kagera region was the only recorded tribe that used the beans. The tribe boiled the Robusta beans and steamed them with various herbs and chewed on the mixture as a stimulant. The tribe also used the coffee beans as a form of currency and the growing and cultivating of the beans were highly controlled by tribal leaders.
There are three ways a farmer can sell his product; The Internal market where the produce is sold at a price decided by the farmer directly to private coffee buyers, village groups or coffee cooperatives. This practice is the most common between small farmers due to the low yields per farmer. Once the private coffee buyers and cooperatives have received a significant amount of produce they can either sell their goods at the Moshi Coffee Auction or export the product directly. Most top grade coffee growers are allowed to bypass the auction and are able to sell their coffee directly to the foreign roasters. This policy was created by the Coffee Board of Tanzania to allow farmers and local companies to build a long term relationship with international buyers.
The Tanzania Coffee Research Institute was founded in 2000 as a non-profit government company and began operations in September 2001. The institute is primarily government owned and other members of the coffee community have a stake in the company. The company is a non profit and is entirely reliant on government funding, donors and the sale of farming materials and tools. Due to the declining output of coffee in Tanzania since the 1990’s the institute is tasked to rejuvenate the coffee industry in the country and help increase revenue from coffee exports. The institute provides a service to the thousands of farmers in the industry with relevant technological advances and educating farmers on better farming practices.
Coffee from Southern Tanzania was historically characterised by a very fruity flavour derived from inconsistent home processing. In the early 2000’s the region received a huge investment of time and effort into post-harvest production. Knowledge on processing and cultivation became more widespread as certification programmes took root. ECOM contributed to this through Tutunze, which was established in Mbinga in 2007 to deliver farmer training and create certified supply chains.
With the quality gap between the North and South now significantly reduced, and with the top end (plus quality) of Southern AA and AB coffees continually reaching new levels in appearance and cup, AA & AB South Plus has become some of the best value coffee available in Tanzania. This process has greatly benefited farmers and producers in the region and Mbinga is now the fastest growing coffee area of Tanzania.
Size: 945,087 km²
Capital City: Dodoma
Population: 55.57 million
Language: Kiswahili, English, Arabic
Average farm size: Smallholders with less than 1 hectare
Annual production: 800,000 bags
Bags exported annually: 800,000 bags
Annual domestic consumption: Most is exported, around 7% is consumed domestically
Growing regions and sizes: Western, Southern, Northern regions
Varieties: Bourbon, Kents, Typica, and Blue Mountain
Processing Methods: Fully washed
Bag Size: 60 kg
Harvest Period: October to December
Shipment Period: October to February