Friday, July 19, 2013

{African Adventure} Kilimanjaro Coffee Tour

Another fun adventure we had in Moshi was a day on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro for a coffee tour with Kahawa Shamba. The coffee tour took us through a local farming village and we had the chance to experience the whole process of coffee production from bean to cup.

We arrived early in the morning to a brisk and cool day on the mountain. We sat down to warm up with a fresh brewed cup of local coffee and met our guide, Mike. The local farmers rotate as guides for the tours which bring in a little extra income for their families and community as a whole.   

We then set out down the slopes to a small cluster of homes where we would begin learning about the process of  making coffee. Mike started by showing us how they plant a couple of beans in a small plastic bag and then, after a few weeks, transplant the coffee plants to the fields under the shade of banana trees. Then we began picking ripe berries from a tree nearby and took them to a machine to remove the outer shell. 

After shelling the berries, they soak the beans for 24 hours to separate the good beans, which sink, from the beans with disease, which float.  Then the beans are then laid out to dry for 14 days. They once again sort out any bad or discolored beans to ensure only the best beans are sent for roasting.

The next step is to remove the second skin, or the husks, of the beans by pounding them using a wooden mortar and pestle. After this, the beans are ready for roasting in a small clay pot over a hot fire.

We then put the roasted beans back in the mortar and pestle and ground them to a fine powder before brewing the freshest cup of coffee we had ever tasted. 

We very much enjoyed our tour of the Kahawa Shamba Coffee Farm. Mike gave us a few beans to plant so hopefully, we can start growing some of our own fresh coffee when we return home later this year!