After our amazing week in Zanzibar, we decided to head to one of Tanzania’s most famous destinations: Mt Kilimanjaro. Not being avid hikers, we instead decided to go on a coffee tour in the foothills of Africa’s largest mountain.
There are a number of companies that arrange these tours in Moshi – we chose the Kiliman Cultural Tourism Programme. We chose this cooperative-run tour because they offer half-day tours of real small-scale coffee farms, guided by real coffee farmers. And the money generated from the project goes directly to support the livelihoods of small coffee farmers in the Moshi area.
On arrival, we were greeted by Kessey, a coffee farmer who was our guide for the next few hours. He gave us a brief history of the Chaga people who are best known for producing Arabica coffee, the beans were introduced to this area in the early 20th century by missionaries. Coffee produced here is exported all over the world.
The coffee plants bear the first fruit at 3 years, and peak production is age 7-20 years. Our guide mentioned that this is one of the reasons that younger family members of coffee farmers are no longer continuing to farm coffee and are looking at farming alternatives such as maize.
The fruit is red when ripe, and each tree is harvested every 10 days from July to February. In a season a good farmer can get 4 kg of coffee per plant.
The beans are then washed/floated in bathtub-sized vats for 24 hours
Beans are spread on a screen to dry for around 10 days. Once the beans are packaged they are taken to a cooperative where the farmer receives an advance payment per kilogram.
The cooperative will then take the beans to an auction.Currently a kg of unroasted beans were being bought by their cooperative at around Tsh3,000 ($1.50 per kg).
We highly recommend this tour, it’s a great insight into the lives of small coffee farmers. In fact, it’s one of the best tours we have both ever experienced on our travels around the world.
We paid $20 each (it’s more if you require transportation) for a half day tour which also included a delicious lunch.
How to get to Kiliman Coffee Tour
GPS coordinates: S 3°14.684′, E37°21.159′