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Coffee industry of Tanzania

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The coffee industry of Tanzania is the 19th largest producer of coffee in world. In 2006, Tanzania produced over fifty-five million pounds of coffee beans[1]. Exports of coffee bring in over $60 million dollars each year to the Tanzanian economy[2]. While coffee has a long history in East Africa, it was not widely grown in the territory comprising modern day Tanzania until the early 1900s [3].

History

Coffee may have been first introduced to Tanzania in the 16th century from modern-day Ethiopia. Rather than being brewed to produce a beverage, they were initially chewed as a stimulant The Haya tribe came to use coffee beans as money, and coffee growing could only be authorized by tribal leaders.

Under German colonialization of the region, coffee began to be cultivated as a cash crop. The Germans weakened the control of the tribal leaders over coffee growing, thereby allowing for a more widespread propagation of coffee plantations. From 1905 through 1912, Tanzanian coffee exports increased nearly three-fold.

Following World War II, the British took over the region comprising modern-day Tanzania and undertook a program which would plant over ten million coffee seedlings. One region of Tanzania would come to export 6000 tons of coffee by 1925. These growers would create Tanzania's first coffee cooperative, formed to negotiate a better price for the growers. [4]

Coffee growing in Tanzania

Approximately seventy percent of coffee produced in Tanzania is arabica, with most of this grown in high altitude regions such as Mount Kilimanjaro[5]. Robusta trees are most commonly grown near Lake Victoria at a lower altitude. Most Tanzanian coffee is grown by small farmers, with 95 percent of the country's coffee farmers cultivating smaller than five acres. Often the quality of this coffee is not high enough to be sold on premium markets. Additionally, the yields of a typical coffee tree in Tanzania are comparatively low. These factors combine to make coffee a difficult business for Tanzanian farmers [6].

The highest grades of coffee are grown on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. These coffees are sold under the name Arusha, Moshi, and Kilimanjaro[7].

Processing

Coffees grown in the Western portion of Tanzania are often dry processed, while the coffees in other regions are wet processed. Wet processed coffee typically dominate the Tanzanian coffees exported to the specialty coffee market.Most of the coffees processed in Tanzania is exported overseas, much more because the companies specific for roasting and grinding coffee are privately owned by overseas investers. Wide opportunities for internal and external investers are available making coffee in Tanzania a competition crop to process in Tanzania. The largest ammount of coffee grown in Tanzania comes from the Arabica coffee genes which is 70% produced in Tanzania and the rest is Robusta

Characteristics

As with most East African arabica coffees, the better Tanzanian coffees have a distinctive acidity. Most of these coffees also have a medium to full body, with a rich flavor.

Tanzanian coffee is often separated so that peaberry beans and flat beans are sold separately. In the United States of America, most coffee identified as Tanzanian is from peaberry beans[8].

See also

References

Tanzania Safari

Tanzania Adventure Safari

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