The robust taste of the locally grown coffee made me inquisitive to discover the origin of finest produce in Tanzania. I was delighted to know that Kahawa, a locally based ‘Fair Trade’ company not only supports production of quality organic coffee from the farms of Mt. Meru in Arusha. In 2016, it has welcomed above 1,200 local and international travelers for an interactive, educational coffee tour and an incomparable experience. I joined five international visitors on a Kahawa Coffee Tour, walking through dusty roads, crossing local landmarks under shades of banana trees to learn the process of organic coffee production.
Samwel, a 25 year old Swahili young man is affluent in five languages and proficiently chatty. He is one of the tour guides at Kahawa and takes guests on a local coffee tour. Impressively, guests learn beyond the being and making of coffee.
The tour is an excursion in Nkoaranga Village on Mt.Meru where guests are introduced to the local culture. Yustin, a 79- year-old Norwegian guest was pleased to meet and interact with locals. “This is certainly special, unlike a mere wildlife encounter”, he remarked,
We visited Samwel’s school where he once sat with five students on one bench, disciplined through lashes and when education was more of a self-taught process. We continued walking to the Church where we learned about the influence Germans on development projects one of which was the introduction of coffee plantation in the village.
In 1910, the German missionaries introduced coffee plantation to the Aranga farmers of the Nkoaranga Village. This coffee group today consists of 28 farming families who grow the cash crop in their home based nurseries. In 2000, when the value of coffee collapsed to 50 cents due to leaf-poisoning there was bleak hope. Samwel’s father and four other farmers then went for training on organic farming at TACRI (Tanzania Coffee Research Institute) and later joined hands with Kahawa in 2004 to produce and sell the finest quality of coffee worth five dollars a kg.
Volcanic, Organic Coffee
The fertile soil of the dormant volcanic mount Meru, low temperatures and use of natural fertilizers is what makes the Arabica coffee of Aranga of great quality and taste. The farmers have a small nursery besides their house where personal attention is given to each plantation unlike large coffee estates. These trees grow under the shades of banana trees, ripe berries are carefully handpicked, processed and sun-dried and taken for roasting and grinding processes with utmost care. Six years of natural organic process from seeding to harvesting certainly makes for rich quality coffee.
The Kahawa Touch
The production of this fine coffee beans is taken for the final processes at the Kahawa roast factory. Here, guests on the coffee tour, after witnessing the harvesting are brought to the Kahawa house for a delicious Tanzanian lunch; fresh fruit for starters, roasted bananas chappatis, goat meat curry, beans, rice and spinach are served in plenty! For dessert, a cupping experience of mild or strong Arabica with some banana cake stimulates your senses in refinance of the origin of the coffee.
At the factory, guests are shown the roasting and grinding process of coffee beans that gives six varieties of coffee; medium, French and dark roast, French press, filter dip and espresso respectively. Kahawa not only sells this fresh produce to top hotels and imports worldwide. Many visitors choose to by straight from the factory in kitenge (local cloth) bags as souvenirs or abundance of coffee for yourself.
The organic coffee farming process has been successful and local farmers together with Kahawa produce ten tons of high quality coffee every year.
Stay at Mt.Meru Guest House
Wild Track offers affordable accommodation in a warm guest house, ideal for large groups and budget travelers. While on a coffee tour, a safari in the northern circuit or simply looking for a homely place to stay in Arusha, Mt. Meru Guest House is a great option to consider. The rooms are simple and clean, with delicious food and all the basic comforts one can ask for.
For more details, contact:
+255 784 420 342/+255 784 416 317
The Journey of Success
- Wild Tracks a Tanzanian-Norwegian safari company owns Kahawa, the coffee brand and buys the beans from the farmers under this label
- The Kahawa coffee walk started in 2010 as coffee buyers demanded to learn about coffee production.
- It is the only tour in the Arusha region that teaches you the process of organic coffee farming and production.
- Daily tours are organized from hotels and anywhere around the country with drop and pick up facilities.
- Kahawa commits to Aranga farmers on long term contract and buys coffee at the price three times higher thus benefiting local producers.
- The Fair Trade company sponsors training and will be shifting farmers to organic production.
- Most of the coffee produced is exported worldwide.