SHIMILANGWADA AB, TANZANIA
Farm: Shimilangwada Estate Co. LTD
Varietal: Bourbon, N39, Kent
Altitude: 1,540 to 1,680 metres above sea level
Owner: Mr Nzunda
Flavour notes: Black Tea, Brown Sugar, Blackcurrants & Blackberries, Milk Chocolate
Our experience with Tanzanian coffees is that they provide a really nice alternative to the usual African fare, with flavour notes that lean a little more towards espresso – which makes for a great change – and this one is no exception!
Shimilangwada used to be known as Kamaro farm, and is the 2nd oldest farm in the Songwe region. It was previously owned by Maria Gabbeaur and her son Henry, who were born in Switzerland. With no experience in coffee, Maria bought the small farm, where just 3.5 hectares were reserved for coffee. Their first harvest, in 2011, was very small – around 400kg – but by the next year, they managed to produce 22800kg, all made possible by the Gabbeaur’s stringent attention to productivity measures without comprising on the protection of the local ecology.
Unfortunately, the Gabbeaur’s faced a lot of challenges in the following years, such as coffee berry disease, leaf rust, insect plague, and incredibly severe drought due to unpredictable levels of rainfall, particularly during the flowering period when it is needed most. The farm was acquired by Mr Nzunda, and it is once again producing optimal levels of high-quality coffee. This is primarily due to his expansion and irrigation improvement plans. The farm’s coffee growing land has increased from 67 hectares under the Gabbeaur’s to over 130!
Like many farms in the region, Shimilangwada is currently facing a number of challenges. One of the primary issues for Shimilangwada has been the inconsistent weather pattern and low rainfall in recent years, leading to increases in production expenses from irrigation and labour costs. The lack of rain also means lower total yield as longer dry seasons put coffee trees under stress; shortening the fruit development time. High input costs and low total yield is also met by the low market price for coffee, meaning coffee farming in the region is becoming unprofitable. This combination between increasing costs, low prices, inadequate rains and longer dry days is now exacerbating existing challenges facing farms and the wider community. Because of this, it’s so important that we coffee drinkers invest in their farms so they can invest in infrastructure to combat this!
Shimilangwada makes for a delightfully tart espresso that has the body to cut through small amounts of milk. Through your pourover equipment of choice, it was have a tea-like quality, where those berry notes really shine!