Located on Tanzania’s northern border, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. The soil is volcanic and ideally suited for the production of quality coffee. Coffee plants produce their fruit in the form of a coffee cherry.
Typically the coffee cherry grows two halves of a bean within a single cherry. Sometimes the coffee cherry produces a single bean rather than two beans—this is known as a peaberry.
A small percentage of all coffees in any crop become peaberries, a name indicating its round shape. A peaberry differs from a standard bean that is round on one side yet flat on the other. If you carefully sort through your whole-bean coffee bag of mixed varieties you may find a few.
Coffee beans get their shape (one side being curved and the other flat) from two beans growing packed next to each other in the cherries exocarp where the two beans are pressed against each other and a flat surface results. In a coffee that becomes a peaberry one of the two beans are ejected early in the growth process. Without the back pressure from the other bean the coffee grows round.
To get a bag containing only peaberries (like this Kiboko (“Little Hippo”)), green coffee must be hand-sorted. Coffees are picked by hand, selecting only the ripest cherries, and then are processed, hand-sorted to separate out the peaberries (a process that takes many workers hours at a sorting table).
Many hours of labor go into these coffees.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping an Tanzania Kiboko Peaberry, from PERC Coffee Roasters in Savannah, Georgia, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Mbeya, Tanzania
farm: Kiboko Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1200 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Typica, Kent
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Tanzania Kiboko is incredible! Sweet and lively, with tons of brown sugar, milk chocolate, purple flowers, and mixed berries.
From the very first few sips immediately post-brew, this coffee is already an intense flavor explosion right out of the gate. Already bright, lively, juicy blackberry, elderberry, strawberry, and raspberry drive down the center of the tongue, enticing and exciting the taste buds. There is a really gooey, honeyed caramel and milk chocolate base which keeps the coffee tethered to the ground.
As it cools, however, the cup explodes, becoming a tropical fruit free for all. I say “free for all,” but, in reality, this is actually a really well rounded, balanced, and structured coffee. Anyway, these flavors… My goodness. Juicy tropical fruits rush to the forefront of every sip and create a really supple mouthfeel as they play off the honey and milk chocolate flavors from up front (the caramel has diminished quite a bit): lemon, black cherry, raisin, lychee, passion fruit, and pineapple jump all over the tongue, while marzipan and cinnamon show up in the finish.
Full body; supple mouthfeel; pineapple acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Great googly moogly. What a coffee. PERC Coffee’s Tanzania Kiboko is a relentless onslaught of awesome from sip to shining sip.
My tasting notes, however, don’t match what Craft’s nor PERC’s at all. Which makes me wonder. For them, the coffee seemed much tamer; the couple of cups I got out of the Craft bag, though, were really, really wild.
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