||Tanzania Selian Block E & F Natural Blue Mountain 2015
||Varietal: Blue Mountain
This coffee comes from the Arusha, Arumeru district, in Northern Tanzania, on the lower slopes of Mount Meru (which rises to a whopping 4,565 metres). Arusha town centre is approximately 8 kilometres from the estates, but over recent years the urban sprawl has meant that the town has expanded up to the borders of the estates.
Selian was established in the 1910's and was acquired by Burka in 1991. The combined estate can now boast growing coffee since 1899, rather impressive don't you think?! The Selian estate covers 1,210 acres of which 753 acres produce coffee.
The Burka and Selian estates have about 200 permanent staff as well as 200 daily causal staff; however, in the peak of the harvest season, there can be up to 5,000 staff involved in picking and processing. All permanent staff are provided with housing on the estates (in four different camps), and the minimum salary is set at 20% above the government minimum requirement. Staff have social security and labour union membership included in their contracts, and an estate credit union also offers loans and advice for education, health, and house construction.
Each estate has its own nursery which educates over 100 children, and two primary schools also cater for over 600 children, who come from the estate workers' families and the neighbouring communities. An on-site health centre with estate nurse and dispensary is available to meet the needs of all staff, and the estate has its own ambulance. It also has shops, sport facilities, churches, and a mosque.
Regular inter-estate and inter-camp football & netball matches occur, along with staff BBQs and other holiday celebrations. Workers are supplied with free firewood from stumped coffee trees, and fruit & nut trees are grown around the staff villages.
Last year was the first time I'd seen a naturally processed coffee come out of Tanzania and I'm super excited to see it happen again this year.
Ripe cherries are delivered to the mill within 6 hours of picking and are sorted and hand-picked then placed onto raised African drying beds. The drying period generally lasts for 2-3 weeks, until the moisture level in the coffee reaches 12% or lower, with regular turning, particularly in the first 7 days to ensure even rates of drying. Parchment is transported to Moshi for milling and bagging, and then to Dar Es Salaam for export. The waste cherry pulp is mixed with worms and produce organic fertiliser, which is then re-used on the estates.
Burka has its own cupping lab on site and samples of each day’s lot are cupped and assessed for quality. As I mentioned above this is the second season natural production at Burka and you should start getting excited about what they're up to behind the scenes, they're experimenting with various washing processing methods and also different patio vs raised bed drying with different turning rates.
As you may have spotted from the title the varietal of this coffee is Blue Mountain, yes the very same one you've probably seen in the media! It originates from Jamaica and the seed used to grow this coffee in Tanzania will have travelled all the way from Jamaica, it's quite rare to see it around these days and even rarer to see it coming out of Tanzania.
In the cup there's immediate liquorice followed by a hit of leather and plenty of body, reminds me greatly of cassis. On the lighter end of the scale you'll find slightly sweet and creamy fennel.
Block: E & F
Varietal: Blue Mountain
Altitude: 1,340 - 1,470 m.a.s.l.
Soil: Volcanic tuffs and basalt-based soils, ranging from clay loams to sandy clay loams.
Temperature: 8ºC - 30ºC
Take this in to first pops of second crack, but slow the roast down and drag out if you can to increase already big body.
"Quick Look" Guide
Liquorice, leather, body, cassis, fennel
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