“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”

Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to write a review. First of all, I love Tanzania Kilimanjaro coffees. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with one I’ve cupped. Moreover, today’s coffee comes from a fella I’ve been great friends with for the past ten years.

I first met Randy via #coffeetwitter when he was merely a home brewer who ran a terrible blog. It’s been a joy to watch his journey from hobbyist to professional barista and, now with Little Key Coffee, coffee shop and roastery owner. Proud of you, bud!

At his recommendation, I purchased a bag of their Tanzania Kilimanjaro.

This Tanzania Kilimanjaro hails from smallholders who belong to Tanzania’s Mamsera, Mahida and Kirwa Keni cooperative groups. These co-ops deliver their coffee to the Rafiki Coffee Mill, which completes the production of nearly 60% of all coffee in northern Tanzania.

The Kirwa Keni cooperative was established in the 1980s as a member of the Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union (KNCU) and is the first and oldest co-op in Tanzania. The Mamsera cooperative is led by Mrs. Mary Shayo, its acting secretary, is known to many as simply Mamsera. The co-op is famous for producing some of the best coffees in the country, thanks in large part to Mary’s leadership.


region: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
farm: NA
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Mamsera, Mahida and Kirwa Keni Cooperatives
elevation: 13500 – 1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Kent
process: fully washed, raised bed dried


The aroma of the Tanzania Kilimanjaro is rich and bold. I don’t mean bold as “roasty” – I mean bold in the sense that the aroma is full on, and it erupts out of the bag. So much so that my wife, two rooms away, exclaimed, “That coffee smells great!” as scents of cacao, fruits, and nuts wafted out of the bag.

This is a full-bodied coffee, with a silky mouthfeel. The flavor follows the nose with notes of dark chocolate and hazelnut leading the way. In a couple brews, I even detected faint marzipan nuances. As the cup cools, the nuttiness gives way to juicy macerated black cherries, Gala apple, and sweet mandarin acidity.


Before I sat down to write the review for this coffee, I texted Randy. I thought he should hear my opinion of his stuff directly from me before I posted it on the Internet for my tens of readers to see. I texted him: “Not just blowing smoke. This coffee is very, very good. Tell your person they’re doing a great job.”

I absolutely loved the Tanzania Kilimanjaro from Little Key Coffee. It’s a full-bodied, voluptuous coffee that fills the belly and is wonderful as a dessert coffee. On the other hand, it really sparkles when brewed over ice in a Chemex.

What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Contact me, or enter a comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *