It's always an exciting time in the build up to the competition beginning to see which coffee the roasters get to play with in the Preliminary Round. Sevenoaks Trading has selected a pearler, plus the winner will be able to visit the estate during harvest in August!
Kongoni Estate, Tanzania
Estate: Kongoni Estate
Region: Oldeani, Karatu District, Manyara Region
Altitude: 1650 masl
Process: Washed, fermented for 24-36 hours and sun-dried on African beds for 14-21 days
German settlers initially started growing coffee in the area during 1920’s. After the Second World War the British Administration consolidated the smaller German owned farms into larger units. Colonel Terence Connor, formerly oftheIndianArmynamedthefarmKongoniandsuccessfullygrewcoffeeandothercrops. Thefarmchangedhands late 1960’s and today it is owned and managed by Aggarwal family.
Kongoni Estate; which incorporates Kiran Coffee Estate and Kilimani Coffee Estate; is an old coffee estate located on the outer slopes of Ngorongoro Crater. The area is dramatic and wild; Elephants, Buffalo and Lion regularly visit the plantation. The region benefits from a cool climate and the farm is heavily shaded, which allows the coffee to develop slowly.
Coffee cherries are harvested once a year during the months of July to November. The ripe cherries are hand-picked and collected at a central point. Great care is taken to ensure only the ripe cherries are picked. Harvest is always a very busy time and it is when the neighbouring villagers all come together to help.
The cherries are transported to the factory in the centre of the estate for pulping. After pulping the beans go through the washing channels and are collected in fermentation tanks according to initial cherry quality. The wet parchment is kept there for up to 36 hours. After fermentation the beans are again washed and then taken out on to the drying tables. The coffee is sun dried; this may take two to three weeks depending on the weather. Care is taken to ensure even drying by regularly turning the coffee. After drying the coffee is stored in conditioning bins before being transported to the mills in Moshi.
Over the last decade hard work and investment have lifted both the quantity and the quality of the coffee being produced at Kongoni. With processing and drying being managed within the farm the quality of Kongoni’s coffee is consistently excellent. The climate, farm biosphere and Kent varietal results in a dense, hard, bourbon arabica whose acidity, body and delicate citrus/fruity flavours are the signature of a classic fully washed East African coffee.
We chatted to Andrew Boltman of Sevenoaks Trading about how this coffee came to be selected.
"In 2019 we (CTCS, Sevenoaks’ UK head office) set up a trading business in Tanzania called Kijani Hai. Since then we have added a sorting facility in Dar Es Salaam, and all sorts of tools (toys ðŸ˜Š) to help us prepare the coffees we buy for export. We have sourcing teams both in the North (Kilimanjaro / Moshi and Tarime) and in the South (Mbinga and Mbeya). Alex Wield, one of our traders, has been sourcing and selling coffee from Tanzania for many years, and knows the landscape well. When discussing the Shot in the dark competition with Alex, and explaining the scope of the first round, he suggested Kongoni Estate AA as a solid option. He knows the farm well and has worked with them multiple times. The Northern part of Tanzania has its main harvest at a similar time to its neighbour Kenya, so we are super amped to get this fresh crop coffee into multiple roasters around South Africa, and see what folks can do with it!"