The area around Mbeya has been called the "Scotland of Africa". The hills are clad in heather and bracken, but botanically they are more closely related to the Fynbos (fine bush) of South Africa's Western Cape Province than the Highlands of Scotland.
The nearest mountain to Mbeya is Loleza Mountain, which rises over and behind the town. Mbeya Peak is visible but some distance away.
Mount Rungwe is the highest mountain in the wider Mbeya region and it dominates the skyline for several kilometers around. It is composed of ten or more dormant volcanic craters and domes. Rising above the small town of Tukuyu, at 2,960m, Rungwe is southern Tanzania's highest peak and is among the highest in the country after some of the peaks in northern Tanzania such as Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and Mount Meru (4,565). Mount Rungwe is surrounded by a catchment forest reserve that was gazetted in 1949. This forest reserve incorporates montane forest, upper montane forest, and montane grassland, with lesser amounts of bushland and heath at the upper elevations, found in low bushes along streams and at the edges of montane forest. The forest is home to a variety of significant forest flora and fauna, including the threatened Abbott's Duiker. The forest is regarded as an important bird area, with two species listed as vulnerable. The most notable creatures are Rungwe bush vipers and Colobus monkeys.
Also ecologically important are the Poroto Mountains, south-east of Mbeya. In 2005, a completely new species of large monkey, the Kipunji, was discovered living in the southern highlands to the southwest of Mbeya. The Mbeya region has not yet been closely studied by scientists.
The Kitulo Plateau, famous for its orchids and display of native flora is now within the designated Kitulo National Park.
Forests in the area, even in the reserves, continue to be encroached upon and degraded. However, there has also been extensive tree and forest planting, which ensures the local firewood supply. There is a small illicit trade in orchid bulbs, which is thought to be endangering the survival of some species.
Tasting Profile: Pear, floral, jasmine, strawberry.
Grower: Small cooperative farmers in the Mbeya area
Variety: Bourbon & Kent
Region: Mbeya Region of Tanzania
Altitude: 1200-1900 M
Soil Type: Clay Minerals
Process: Fully washed and dried on raised beds
The coffee production landscape of Tanzania is complex with huge distances between coffee growing areas and often very rugged terrain. 90% of coffee producers in Tanzania are from small-holder operating on farms between 0.5-3 hectares in size.
Tanzania uses a system of bean size grading very much like the system used in Kenya. In Tanzania “AA” is the largest size grade, consisting of beans with screen sizes 17 and 18. Screen sizes globally refer to screen hole size in #/64ths of an inch wide. “AB” refers to 15/16 screen, “C” grade is 14/15 screen and “PB” is the small peaberry bean. Larger screen sizes fetch higher auction prices even today, with much of the international market preferring a large size bean. We’ve found that there’s no absolute correlation between bean size and cup quality, which is why our Tanzania offers an AB grade.
- For espresso machine, Moka pot, and 9barista, take the Espresso grind
- For pour-over, dripper, French Press, Chemex, AeroPress, take the Standard grind
- For expert grinding, take the whole beans, always the best choice.