Tanzania HOPE Peaberry

Tanzania HOPE Peaberry

While I usually consider Tanzania to be a sweet bean that is great for blending, this one is more complex than usual. It starts out tart and turns sweet and is awesome as both a blender or a single origin. I'm tasting definite milk chocolate in the finish on this coffee, it almost reminds me of something like a chocolate covered sweet-tart.

A Peaberry is a mutation — a flaw in the coffee gene causing two cherries to grow as one. Some suggest it gives it twice the flavor. Few coffee fans consider it a “flaw” and many seek it out. Indeed, in some countries they are rare. In Tanzania, they are more the norm. This is a wonderful coffee, if you can roast it well. Peaberries are small and dense. This bean likes high high heat, especially for the first half of the roast. If you take it more than 15 minutes it tastes burnt regardless of temperature. But a 15 minute roast without enough heat at the beginning makes it sour. So it’s a tricky bean, but when you nail it, it’s all worth it! Tip: If you have a hottop, let the hottop “start” its roast for 45-60 seconds before dropping the beans in. Whatever roaster you have, if you preheat the drum hotter than normal, you’re on the right track. A good exit point for Tanzania is a bean temperature right around 400 degrees, just out of the first cracks. This will give you the sweetest cup.

This coffee is from the Southwest region of Mbeya, bordering the countries of Malawi and Zambia, and is traded commercially as the “Hope Project.” The Hope Project is a co-operative of farmers who all grow small crops of coffee on their own individual land and then pool their crops together. These are largely self-sufficient households who also have goats and gardens, and sometimes work another trade on the side. Individually, they could not afford the technology to process their coffee correctly, and could not fetch a fair price for their crop. However, as a group, they share state-of-the-art coffee processors, and in the past couple years have gained an international reputation for having some of the best coffee in the country, which likewise, has earned them a market price well above “fair trade” standards. The coffee is sold and exported by the largest cocoa exporting company in the country, but the company is committed to transparency and verifies that all farmers are paid fairly for their contribution.

HOPE stands for Highland Organic Products Export, and the farmers of Tanzania grow coffee in traditional methods using their own natural mulches and composts and pest controls, while shading the coffee under other crops, such as banana trees.

The beans for sale here are the just arrived 2014 crop.

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