This coffee comes from the Tanzania Shiwanda Estate, a historic Tanzanian estate that was revived in 1998 and is located in Mbozi, Mbeya Region of Southern Tanzania between Lake Tanganyika to the north and Lake Malawi to the south. The estate is approximately 1,300 acres, of which 300 is used to cultivate coffee. Coffee from the Shiwanda Estate placed 2nd in the Tanzania Taste of Harvest in 2007. The estate uses the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TACRI) varietals. TACRI is committed to improving coffee varietal quality and diversity in Tanzania and helping to revive the Tanzanian coffee industry.
Similar to Kenya, coffee came with the French missionaries in the late 1800s, and was planted around Kilimanjaro for the most part (there are the Bourbon varieties that are often seen as SLs in Kenya now). In Tanzania, with its Indian influence, the Indian Kent varieties came from Mysore in the 1920s. In general, there are two varieties widely used today, the Bourbon-descended N39 hybrid, and the Kent hybrid KP432, as well as Kent varieties K7 and K9.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Tanzania Shiwanda Estate, from Magpie Coffee Roasters in Reno, Nevada, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Mbozi, Mbeya, Tanzania
farm: Tanzania Shiwanda Estate
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: K7, K9, KP432, N39
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Tanzania Shiwanda Estate is utterly delightful. Very sweet and perfumed with indelible scents of raspberry, dark chocolate, citrus, honeysuckle, and rose hips.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the flavor certainly follows the nose. Right up front, tart raspberry preserves oozes over the tongue; I’m also tasting something of a flaky crumble cake flavor playing out that’s immediately reminding me of a crumble raspberry tart. It also has plenty of floral aromatics—silky rose petal, orange blossom, honeysuckle, rooibos tea leaves—which flutter in over the top and play out through the finish.
As the cup cools, the coffee’s body firms up a bit more; it was full-bodied up front, but now it’s full-bodied and very dense. I think that’s with big thanks to big flavors of dark chocolate ganache and burnt caramel that’s emerged here in the back half of the cup. Now that it’s cooled off, this coffee is so much more unique and dynamic; in addition to the bittersweetness of dark chocolate, in addition to the burnt, roasty sugars, the coffee is now incredibly tart and somewhat effervescent even, as a bright, zesty orange rind acidity streams down the middle and sides of the tongue.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
At the onset of 2015 I decided that I would take it easy on reviewing coffees for the year; over the past three years I have been so inundated with coffees that it’s been difficult to keep up. As much as I miss drinking a lot of different coffees from a lot of different roasters week after week, one of the surprise benefits of cutting back on the amount of reviews I write is that it makes the really incredible coffees stand out even more.
This coffee—Magpie’s Tanzania Shiwanda Estate—is a really incredible coffee.
There were so many things I loved about this coffee that I can’t even keep them straight; too many fantastic qualities to mention. It was delicious, it was interesting, it was dynamic and unique, it kept me on my toes, it constantly evolved, it was so clean, and it had such an amazing clarity. I mean, it really had a huge impact on my palate.
This one is going to stick with me for a while.
*content provided by Magpie Coffee Roasters
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.