Tanzania coffee guide

29 Jul 2022

Tanzania is the third largest coffee producer in Africa and produces about 1% of the world's Arabica coffee. 

Tanzania is known for its high-quality coffee, that's why many coffee addicted love it. Most Tanzania coffees share the characteristically sharp, winy acidity typical of Africa and Arabia coffees. They tend to be medium- to full-bodied and fairly rich in flavor. Other Tanzania coffees from the Kilimanjaro region may exhibit soft, floral profiles reminiscent of similar washed Ethiopia coffees.







Where it grows?

Tanzanian arabica coffees are grown on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru in the Northern areas, under the shade of banana trees. It also grows in Southern Highlands of Mbeya and Ruvuma regions and Robusta coffee is grown in the western areas along Lake Victoria in Kagera region.


It 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 coffee.

During the German colonization of the region in the late 19th century the value of the crop in the region changed. In 1911, German colonists mandated the planting of Arabica coffee trees throughout the Bukoba region. The Germans introduced various laws that reduced the control of tribal leaders over the cultivation of the crop and the coffee seeds were made widely available. The Haya tribe was forced to grow different food crops such as bananas and pineapples and were pressured to grow the new Arabica variant introduced by the Germans.


Nowadays, most of the tourists come to Moshi because it is the starting point for climbing Kilimanjaro. With a few days before or after the trek, it is a must a visit to one of the coffee plantations around Moshi. Taking a coffee tour in Moshi is a great way to learn about the process of cultivating coffee and the way the Chagga tribe is using their farming in the highlands skills to grow high quality beans.

It is interesting to know that coffee is a premium product in Tanzania, and only 7% of the production is consumed locally. Coffee is much more expensive than tea and, when you visit Tanzania, it is normal for hotels to offer instant coffee instead of premium grounded one.