IYENGA AB

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An incredibly complex lot from a producing country with tonnes of potential. Packed with tropical fruits, grapefruit, dates and a hint of Anise.

PRODUCER

Iyenga Agricultural Marketing Cooperative and Society

PREPARATION

Fully washed and sun-dried on African beds

CULTIVAR

Kent, Bourbon, N39 and other local varieties

ALTITUDE

1,670 - 1,950 masl

LOCATION

Mbozi District, Mbeya

HARVEST PERIOD

June - December

 

Iyenga AMCOS is known within the region as being very well organised with committed board members. All of the farmers in this village are very small scale and grow their coffee on land of up to 5 hectares. As well as coffee, many of the farmers also grow maize, peanuts and beans. Not only do these provide additional cash crops, but legumes are excellent at fixing nitrogen in the soil and so are beneficial for production.

All of their coffee is hand harvested and meticulously pre-sorted before pulping. All coffee delivered to the mill is pulped within eight hours to reduce the risk of over fermentation. The pulped coffee is the fermented in tanks without water for 10-12 hours before being washed in grading channels.

The parchment is then dried on raised African beds at a depth of no more than 3cm, for around 7-10 days depending on weather conditions.

Once the coffee reaches optimal humidity it is rested before being milled and graded by size in Mbozi. This lot has been graded as AB which is a blend of bean sizes A - the largest, and B - the second largest.

Tanzania's prime minister has prompted recent changes to the way in which coffee is traded in the country. These changes are intended to improve profits for farmers and extend their role in the supply chain. Until now, farmers have been permitted to either sell parchment to private buyers or send it through the national auction system. From the 2018/2019 growing season, the government has banned the purchase of cherry or parchment at the farm gate level. This means that farmers must now sell their coffee to the local AMCOS (Agricultural Marketing Cooperative and Society) which will deliver the coffees to auction for purchase.

This mean direct purchasing relationships are no longer possible and it will become harder to buy the same coffees year after year. This also effectively removes a layer of traceability and potentially limits the quality of the processing dependant on the facilities of the AMCOS.

The upside for the farmers though is that is that the auction enables them to participate much farther along in the supply chain, rather than exiting at potentially the cherry stage. If there are profits to be gained, particularly from a high-quality coffee, the farmer will now technically be positioned to benefit from that. These changes could also help improve the reputation of Tanzania's coffee production as the highest quality lots are usually amongst the ones which have been sold privately outside of the auction system.