This coffee comes from the Arusha, Arumeru district, in Northern Tanzania, on the lower slopes of Mount Meru. Arusha town is approximately 8 kilometres from the estates, but over recent years the urban sprawl has meant that the town has expanded up to the borders of the estates.
Selian Tanzania was established in the 1910’s and was acquired by Burka in 1991, and covers 1,210 acres, of which 753 acres produce coffee. The Burka and Selian estates have about 200 permanent staff as well as 200 daily causal staff; however, in the peak of the harvest season, there can be up to 5,000 staff involved in picking and processing. All permanent staff are provided with housing on the estates (in four different camps), and the minimum salary is set at 20% above the government minimum requirement. Staff have social security and labour union membership included in their contracts, and an estate credit union also offers loans and advice for education, health, and house construction.
Each estate has its own nursery which educates over 100 children, and two primary schools also cater for over 600 children, who come from the estate workers’ families and the neighbouring communities. An on-site health centre with estate nurse and dispensary is available to meet the needs of all staff, and the estate has its own ambulance. It also has shops, sport facilities, churches, and a mosque.
Ripe cherries are delivered to the mill within 6 hours of picking and are sorted and hand-picked then placed onto raised African drying beds. The drying period generally lasts for 2-3 weeks, until the moisture level in the coffee reaches 12% or lower, with regular turning, particularly in the first 7 days to ensure even rates of drying. Parchment is transported to Moshi for milling and bagging, and then to Dar Es Salaam for export. The waste cherry pulp is mixed with worms and produce organic fertiliser, which is then re-used on the estates.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Selian Tanzania, from Tugboat Coffee Roasters in Addison, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.