Tanzania

FAQ Peaberry FW

This FAQ Peaberry coffee from smallholders in Southern Tanzania is an excellent value for washed East African coffees. We think it represents the great potential of the oft-overlooked Tanzania coffee sector.

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Details

Coffee Grade:
FAQ PB
Farm/Coop/Station:
Various
Varietal:
Bourbon, Kent, Typica
Processing:
Fully washed
Altitude:
1,500 to 1,800 meters above sea level
Owner:
Various
Subregion/Town:
Various
Region:
Songwe and Ruvuma
Farm Size:
1 to 2 hectares on average
Bag Size:
60kg
Harvest Months:
May - November

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Cultivation

This FAQ is a blend of coffees from smallholder farmers in the Songwe and Ruvuma Regions in Southern Tanzania. Each farmer tends between 1 and 2 hectares of land on average. In addition to growing coffee, farmers typically intercrop with corn, beans, groundnuts, sunflowers and ginger. They also grow a flower called the Pyrethrum Daisy, which is often cultivated for its insecticidal qualities. 

Harvest & Post-Harvest

Cherry is hand-harvested. Farmer process cherry on their own farms, so individual processing methods vary from farm to farm. In general, cherry is pulped using either an eco-pulper or standard pulper and then fermented. Following fermentation, parchment is dried on raised beds for 14-20 days.  

Once dry, the parchment sits for 2-3 months in cooperative warehouses before being transferred to mills in either Mbozi or Mbinga, districts in Southern Tanzania, to be prepared for export. 

About Peaberries

PB stands for peaberry. Peaberry is a name given to a very specific shape of coffee bean. In Spanish, peaberries are called “caracol”, which means “snail”. The name aptly describes the shape of the peaberry bean, which appears slightly curved in on itself.   

Peaberries are the result of a natural mutation in the coffee cherry. Whereas there are usually two beans nestled together in each fruit, a cherry with a peaberry mutation only forms one bean. Thus, peaberries are a single, rounder bean.

Peaberry mutations occur in approximately 5% of all coffee. The beans are known for being rounder, smaller and denser, which can contribute to a more even roast color when handled correctly. Many people find peaberries to have a sweeter flavor profile, as well.

Since peaberries are a natural mutation that is not visible from the outside of the cherry, peaberries must be sorted out during the screen grading stage of dry milling. The peaberry screens have the smallest holes, which are oblong to allow the rounder beans to fall through. 

Coffee in Tanzania

Coffee’s roots in Tanzania can be traced via oral history back to the Haya tribe of Northwest Tanzania in the 16th century. Following German and then British colonial rule, the Tanzanian coffee industry has undergone many transformations and adjustments in an effort to create the most equal, profitable and high-quality coffee possible. Today, our in-country partner, Sucafina Tanzania, is invested in improving the coffee and the lives of smallholder farmers through a variety of initiatives.

Coffee in Tanzania was grown almost exclusively in the North for a long time. The Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tarime, Kagera, Kigoma and Karatu/Ngorongoro regions were prized for their ideal Arabica growing conditions. At the time, coffee production was so concentrated in the north that Moshi, a northern municipality, was the only hub for all coffee milling and sales.

Operations in Moshi grew to truly massive proportions in the 1950s and early-1960s. Since both Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi were under British rule in the post-war decades, Moshi was the second milling and sales hub (after Nairobi, Kenya) for British coffee production.

Coffee cultivation has extended southwards in recent years. In addition to the historical powerhouse regions in the north, coffee is now also grown in the southern regions of Ruvuma and Mbeya/Mbozi. Most Southern expansion of coffee growing occurred in the 1970s and 1980s and was encouraged by two projects supported by European backers. In an ironic twist, today 75 to 85% of total coffee production in Tanzania today comes from farms in the south.

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