This AB quality coffee comes from the Tarime district of Tanzania. Tarime District is one of the six districts of the Mara Region of Tanzania, East Africa. It was previously known as the “North Mara District”. It is bordered from the north to east by the Kenyan districts of Migori, Trans Mara and Kisii, and to the east by the Maasai Mara game reserve. To the south it is bordered across the Mara River by the Musoma Urban, Musoma Rural and Serengeti districts, and to the west by Rorya District. 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. 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 Tarime AB, from Spotted Cow Coffee Company in Mill Creek, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Tarime, Tanzania
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: >1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: N39, Kent KP423, K7, K9
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Tanzania Tarime is really nice; a complex and nuanced mix of berries, citrus, and florals. I’m detecting fragrances of red fruits (pomegranate, grape, red berries, apple), lime, lilac, and wisps of black tea.
From the very first sip, I can already tell that this coffee is a winner. It’s on the fuller side of a medium body and possesses a juicy mouthfeel, characterized by stunningly bright and lively fruit flavors: pomegranate, peach, apricot, star fruit, grape, raspberry, blackberry, apple, and a tart, zesty lemon-lime acidity, leading each sip to conclude with a clean, crisp finish. Its rich and dense brown sugar, cola, dark cocoa powder, lavender, and Earl Grey tea work well to provide a contrasting base of flavors for its bright, fruity elements to play off of, thereby making the coffee even more dynamic as a whole.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
The last time I was this blown away by a Tanzanian coffee, it was the time I reviewed the Tanzania Shiwanda Estate. And, I have to say, I don’t think it’s any small coincidence that the last time I was this blown away by a Tanzanian coffee, it too was roasted by the fine folks at Spotted Cow Coffee Company. In fact, that coffee was one of my favorites of 2015!
I’ve long been a champion of regions that fly under the radar and produce incredible coffees—Sulawesi, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, and Tanzania, certainly, all come to mind; I’m also a champion of roasters who fly under the radar and produce incredible coffees. I think Tanzania and Spotted Cow Coffee Company are perfectly suited for each other; and one sip of this—their Tarime AB—will showcase exactly what I mean.
*content provided by Olam Specialty Coffee
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.