It’s the first thing you think about in the morning: that nutty aroma emanating from mug to nostril, that sweet, caffeinated invitation soon to warm your body, sharpen your senses, and catapult you into the day, into work and family and all that’s good and important in the world.
Yes, it’s coffee we speak of.
Without coffee, many of us feel lost at sea, adrift in doldrums of a foggy mind. No coffee means no momentum. It’s estimated that worldwide humans drink over two billion cups of coffee per day. Two billion (I just spilled my latte writing that). We are currently a species addicted to the dark bean, a simple hot beverage made from roasting and grinding a seed, then bathing it in hot water.
Tanzania’s Best Kept Secret? World-Class Coffee
Coffee is picky. It can only be grown in equatorial climates at certain temperatures and elevation levels. The more premium coffee beans, like Arabica, are also the most sensitive to climate, soil, and water. So when prime growing conditions are available, coffee can become a cash crop to be exported around the world.
Currently, coffee is Tanzania’s largest export, upwards of 40,000 metric tons grown annually, accounting for about $60 million in revenue each year. The Tanzanian coffee industry employs more than 400,000 families. Tanzania is the fourth largest African producer of coffee, placing them well within the top 20 largest coffee producers on the planet. (Source)
What Makes Tanzanian Coffee So Good?
After arriving into Tanzania for your safari, Kilimanjaro trek or Zanzibar getaway, you will most likely travel through coffee plantations at some point. These rolling green fields boast broad-leafed plants extending as far as the eye can see. But how did Tanzania become such a coffee titan? For this, we have to reach back into the history books.
Humans first consumed coffee around the 15th century in Ethiopia, only several hundred miles north of Tanzania. The plant was used to extend alertness, work longer hours, and for prayer. The plant quickly spread around the world following trade routes. In the 16th century, coffee starts to be grown in northwestern Tanzania with the Haya tribe, who smoked, boiled, and chewed the stuff, but never drank the dark concoction.
Colonization by the Germans and British accelerated coffee growing techniques in Tanzania, and many tribespeoples worked coffee plantations, including the Chagga who live around Mount Kilimanjaro. After Tanzania gained its independence in 1961, the country’s leaders saw promise in its coffee export and doubled down on supporting its economy. Public management of the coffee industry led to complications and market volatility, and reforms in the early 1990s privatized the industry. Now, over ninety percent of coffee in Tanzania is grown by smallholder farms. Here’s more Tanzanian coffee history: (Click Here)
What Does Tanzanian Coffee Taste Like?
The higher quality coffee for which Tanzania is known, Arabica, is famous for its bright acidity and fruity, tart notes. Expect a cup of Tanzanian brew to taste much like Ethiopian or Kenyan coffees (as they all share a common origin). The Tanzania peaberry is a known delicacy for coffee aficionados. (Source)
Can I Visit a Coffee Plantation While Visiting Tanzania?
Absolutely. Easy Travel’s headquarters is located in Arusha, ground zero for accessing the country’s finest coffee plantations, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. We have long-held relationships with coffee farmers and can facilitate a plantation tour and coffee tasting.
Top Places to Caffeinate in Tanzania
Here are some of our favorite coffee hangouts in Tanzania:
- Union Café – Moshi. This place is classic, a local favorite. Bring a book or journal and plan to spend a few hours sipping local coffee and watching the world pass by.
- Zanzibar Coffee House – Stone Town. For any Zanzibar trip, we recommend at least a half-day in Stonetown. After exploring its labyrinthine streets, you’ll need a caffeinated power-up. Look no further.
- Fifi’s Restaurant and Café – Arusha. A well-known spot in the center of town. Great food, pastries, and people-watching, too.
For most travelers to Tanzania, sights are set firmly on seeing lions, hippos, and other safari highlights. Or perhaps it’s the diving and beachcombing from the Spice Islands. But let’s be honest: none of this can happen without that first cup of coffee. So, if you’re traveling halfway across the globe for these experiences, why not make it taste better?