Igamba AA/AB - Tanzania

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  • Regular price £9.00
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Igamba AA/AB
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Tasting Notes: Lemon, apricot, white wine, medium body and syrupy mouth-feel complemented by a tartaric acidity
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Process: Washed 
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Variety: Compact, Kent and other local varieties
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Altitude: 1400 MASL
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Farm: Igamba MPYA Argricultural Marketing Co-Op Society
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Location: Igamba, Mbozi District, Songwe
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My very first Tanzanian coffee. African coffees are a partictular favorite of mine, not sure if that is obvious or not. 
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Located around 70km from the Malawi border sits the town of Igamba; one of 25 administrative wards in the Mbozi District, encompassing 175 smaller villages. Home to over 30,000 people (2008), Igamba is the location for Igamba MPYA AMCOS’ central processing unit. Farms in the region tend to be very small, rarely totalling more than 5 hectares in size and often as small as a single hectare.
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The majority of farmers keep one or two pigs or cows and some poultry to support their income and provide sustenance. In addition to coffee, many grow maize, peanuts and beans; amongst other cash crops. As well as providing a second source of income, produce such as maize provides useful by-products like mulch for the coffee trees; locking in moisture on the high sloped contour farms. Similarly, the primary fertiliser for many farms in the region is manure from livestock, mixed with small amounts of NPK (known as Yara Java).
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The coffee cherry is selectively handpicked by the family at each farm. Once the day of picking is complete, processing will begin by separating any under/overripe cherry, along with any foreign matter such as sticks or gravel. Next, the coffee is pulped using a hand pulper to remove the outer layer of fruit. Typically, the cherries are picked, sorted and pulped all in the same day; with processing conducted in the evening after the daily picking is complete. After, the coffee is placed into fermentation tanks to remove the remaining mucilage. Here the beans will remain for 2-3 days, depending on the atmospheric temperature. Once fermentation is complete, beans are washed in cool clean water to remove mucilage as well as any floaters.
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Once clean, beans are taken to the raised beds to be dried. Here the coffee is spread across the raised beds and turned regularly to ensure an even dry. The tables are covered at the high sun so that the beans are not scorched, as well as when it rains to prevent re-wetting. During the night, the coffee is also covered with polythene to prevent the build-up of any moisture. The process of drying will typically take anywhere between 10 to 13 days; with beans only removed once the moisture content has reached 11% or lower.
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Igamba MPYA AMCOS is currently facing a number of difficulties. One of the primary challenges facing the group is the high cost of inputs needed to farm the land, making the cost of production expensive. Combined with the low market price for coffee, coffee farming in the region is becoming unprofitable. Along with the difficulties relating to the cost of farming, the association is also facing a new battle; brought on by climate change. With inadequate rains and longer dry days, the reduced yield is now exacerbating existing challenges for Igamba MPYA AMCOS and their wider community.
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Free delivery on all orders £15 or over
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Information provided by Mercanta Limited