• Rating: [rating:3/5]

There’s a mystery in Africa, friends and neighbors… a curious affair involving Tanzania and the peaberry bean. As we’ve covered before – recently, even – peaberry coffees comprise about 5% of a given coffee crop. How can it be, then, that virtually every coffee you and I have ever tasted from Tanzania is a peaberry? How can there be so many peaberries from the origin… and where do all the flatbeans go?

The whole peaberry skew for this origin has probably got a lot to do with marketing. Tanzanian Peaberry has long been something of a “boutique” bean; you’re likely to find it offered in virtually any specialty coffee retailer. It’s this particular angle that’s led to my own love-hate relationship with the origin. Because it is a popular boutique coffee, there’s a lot of it bought, roasted and sold on its name value alone, which means there’s a fair amount of pretty poor Tanzanian beans being sold today. As a consumer, it’s pretty much a roll of the dice as to what you’re going to get, unless you take the time to taste first, or you know your roaster.

However, a good Tanzanian coffee – peaberry or no – can be a really great cup, and, depending on the region its grown in, its flavors can take on some vastly different dimensions. Coffees grown in the North [near Kenya] are more acidy; coffees from the South [nearer Zambia] develop less brightness, more body, and a lingering finish. These are generalizations, of course, and it’s not at all a binary thing – one or the other. It’s a continuum… and depending on where the coffee is grown, how it’s processed, and how well it fares in terms of being packed in from the more remote regions of the country, you can get still more variety.

Now, having said all that, I don’t know precisely which region Green Mountain’s Tanzania Peaberry hails from [I’ll track back to the coffee buyers and find out] but based on what I find in the cup, I’d wager it’s more northerly than not… very probably one of the excellent beans that’s grown on the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro.

Just-ground, the fragrance is sweet, and ever-so-slightly peppery… I’m tempted to label it nutmeg. In the cup it offers a rosy, floral aroma that lingers long, even as the cup cools. Its flavors are slightly woody, and offer hints of vanilla and black tea. It has a hint of wineyness to it – an aspect of East African coffees that I adore. It’s mild-bodied, and its finish, while sweet, is fleeting.

This is an excellent breakfast cup… a little bit brisk, but not in-your-face bright. Its sweetness and very clean characteristics – and that lingering floral aroma – would make this an excellent choice for a summer iced coffee, too.

Want more body? Try it in a press pot… but have a care not to muddy this lovely clean cup!

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