Varietal: Combact, Colombia & Kent
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried on African beds
Overall: Melon, pulpy, fig and blackberry, chewy mouth feel.
Kamaro Farm, Mbozi AA - Tanzania
Kamaro Farm is owned by Maria and her son, Herby, Gabbeaur - originally from Switzerland but who have lived in Tanzania for more than 20 years. Maria arrived in Tanzania with the dream of becoming a coffee farmer and proceeded to make it happen – all on her own! The farm began operations in 1996 with only 3.5 hectares of coffee planted. The first harvest, in 2011, was small - only 400 kg of parchment was harvested. The highest yield so far has been 22,800 kg (reached in 2012). This is quite a significant productivity growth in a relatively short period of time, made possible by The Gabbeaurs’ stringent attention to productivity measures ‘on the ground’ and his commitment to expanding the area under production over the years.
Considering these gains in productivity, it might come as a surprise that Kamaro farm is run not as a commercial venture but rather as a social enterprise run in support of the local community. After covering operating expenses, all farm income goes directly back into the community and its needs.
The farm itself covers 372 hectares – some of which is under peanut production, with only The farm provides employment to 300 people who live nearby. The majority of these are hired for seasonal labour – particularly during the harvest but also for pruning and other seasonal activities. The rest of the land not under direct cultivation by the Gabbeaurs is rented to other, neighbouring farmers and those who don’t own lands to grow maize, beans and peanuts.
In recent years, the farm has been presented with a number of challenges, including Coffee Berry Disease, coffee leaf rust and insect plague. The least controllable, however, is the lack of reliability in 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. It is possible that irrigation may need to be used in future years.
Coffee at Kamaro farm is selectively hand harvested, with multiple passes being made throughout the harvest season, and is sorted before being delivered to the farm’s mill. The coffee is then pulped using a standard pulper (without a demucilager) and then fermented for 3 – 5 days, depending on atmospheric temperature. During fermentation, the fermentation tanks are usually covered with iron sheets to maintain an even and constant temperature.
After fermenting, the coffee is delivered through washing channels, where it is graded by density, using fresh water from the farm’s ‘borehole’ (more or less, a narrow well). It is then delivered to raised drying tables (African beds), where it slowly dries for 9 to 12 days. Kamaro Farm’s mill has very good drying infrastructure, and coffee is regularly turned and is covered during the hottest part of the day and the evenings to ensure even drying.
The coffee is then rested and eventually milled in Mbozi, where it is then graded. This lot has been graded ‘AA’ – the highest grade of Tanzanian coffee.
Kamaro farm tries its utmost to implement a fully organic approach to maintaining soil and plant health: the farm applies manure and coffee pulp compost and uses mulching as a means of promoting the breakdown of organic materials to encourage micro-organisms in the soil. Occasionally, the farm must supplement composting with other industrial fertilisers.
Pruning occurs once a year: the first soon after the harvest and the second in February and March. Pruning is conducted for plant rejuvenation and also to control diseases. Unproductive plants are stumped when needed.
This lot is composed of the varieties Combact, Colombia and Kent. Colombia and Kent are fairly common varieties across Tanzania (and other coffee growing countries around the world). Combact, however, is a new ‘resistant’ variety that has been developed within Tanzania.