Shimilangwada AB, TanzaniaFlavour Notes: Brown sugar, black tea & corriander seeds
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Roast Level: Light/Medium
Process: Fully Washed
Varietal: Bourbon, N39 & Kent
Roaster's Notes: Tanzanian coffee always has a very reassuring sweetness, and this one is no different. We've roasted this light-medium to bring out a lovely brown sugar sweetness coupled with a black tea aroma.
Producer: Mr Nzunda
Altitude: 1,540 - 1,680 metres
Established in 1989, Shimilangwada is the second oldest farm in the Songwe region. Originally owned by a Swiss family farming just 67 acres, the estate was bought out in 2017 by Tanzanian entrepreneur Mr Nzunda, who purchased the land hoping to revive the old trees. Since taking ownership, Mr Nzunda has been able to double the area of productive coffee plantation and has driven forward the quality of the produce.
Previously known as Kamaro farm, Shimilangwada was once owned by Maria and her son, Herby Gabbeaur. Originally from Switzerland, the Gabbeaur’s have lived in Tanzania for more than 20 years. Maria first arrived in Tanzania in 1996. All on her own and with no previous experience in coffee, Maria travelled to Tanzania with the dream of becoming a coffee farmer. Back then, there were just 3.5 hectares of coffee planted; with the rest reserved for forest and farm infrastructure. The first harvest in 2011 was small, with only 400 kg of parchment gathered.
The next year in 2012, Maria managed to produce a whopping 22,800 kg; a significant productivity growth in a relatively short period of time. This was made possible by The Gabbeaurs’ stringent attention to productivity measures ‘on the ground’ and their commitment to expanding the area under production over the years. Although the farm had grown radically in size since Maria first began with her 3.5-hectare lot in 1996, Maria faced a number of challenges during her time. In recent years, the farm has been presented with issues such as coffee berry disease, coffee leaf rust and insect plague.
The least manageable variable, however, is the unpredictable rainfall. Particularly in the last decade, the farm has been susceptible to drought and hasn’t received the rainfall needed during the flowering period to ensure an optimal crop. In comes Mr Nzunda. 2019 will mark the first crop year since he took over the task of managing the farm. This is primarily due to the expansion and improvement plans that have been underway since it was first acquired. Shimilangwada has been engaged in irrigation improvements to combat the issue of unreliable rainfall; with plans to create an even bigger water reservoir.
These important changes have driven the growth of the 67-hectare Kamaro farm into the new 130-hectare Shimilangwada estate. Interestingly, the new farm name, Shimilangwada, comes from an indigenous tree known to the Vwawa area, known for its white flowers and good shape. The farm provides work to roughly 100 people in the low season and some 250 during harvest.
Workers and pickers come from the surrounding villages, offering income and opportunity to men and women both skilled and unskilled. The management follows government regulation, ensuring that all employees are paid above the minimum wage and given access to necessities such as clean drinking water and toilets.