This coffee comes from the 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.
Distances in Tanzania are vast—there’s almost 1000 kms between coffee producing regions in the North and in the South, same for East and West. The altitudes are up to almost 2000 MASL in many places. 90% of coffee producers are smallholder farmers, owning between 0.5 to 3 hectares, and less than 10% of the coffees are grown at estates. Mbeya/Mbozi and Mbinga (South) in total is close to 50% of production
Similar to Kenya, coffee came with 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 a cup of Tanzania Shiwanda Estate, from Spotted Cow Coffee Company in Mill Creek, Washington. 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
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. The aroma of this Tanzania Shiwanda Estate is fantastic. Dark chocolate and caramel rise out of the cup first, closely followed by scents of grape jelly, apple, and black tea.
My first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew present my palate with a dense, supple and syrupy, full-bodied coffee that is just packed with flavor. This is a very sweet coffee, but not overwhelmingly so; the sweetness of its red grape and nougat notes are counterbalanced by honeyed bittersweet dark chocolate and caramelized brown sugar.
As the cup cools off, the flavor gets even more intense as the coffee’s profile gets more dense. Its fruit flavors come to the forefront of each sip, flooding my taste buds with flavors of red grape, Fuji apple, coconut, and a mildly tart tangerine acidity introduce a flourish of floral aromatics throughout the finish—honeysuckle, orange blossom, and, most prominently, Darjeeling tea leaves.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
There’s no need to beat around the bush here—Spotted Cow Coffee Company’s Tanzania Shiwanda Estate is incredible. In fact, it may well be the best roast of the Tanzania Shiwanda Estate I’ve had yet.
This was a full-bodied, voluminous coffee that had an incredible amount of depth. Even as the cup cooled closer and closer to room temperature, its dynamic profile just kept going and going, maintaining a supple, syrupy texture and dynamic clarity throughout. It’s a very layered coffee, too, densely and tightly packed into the cup.
I can’t say enough about this one; an absolutely brilliant offering from Spotted Cow Coffee Company.
*content provided by Spotted Cow Coffee Company
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.