Honest Coffee Roasters Tanzania Shiwanda

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Honest Coffee Roasters

Today we have our last coffee from the good folks at Honest Coffee Roasters, located outside of Nashville, TN. I’ve enjoyed the other coffees they’ve sent me and Tanzanian coffees are all the rage right now, so without further ado let’s find out more about this coffee! You can buy Honest Coffee Roasters’ Tanzania Shiwanda directly in 8oz bags for just $10.75.

Today’s coffee comes from the Shiwanda Estate in Tanzania. The other Tanzanian coffees I’ve had (and there aren’t many), have come from the very north of the country, in the Tarime region that rests on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Shiwanda Estate is over 1000km to the south, though, near Mbeya. Mbeya is located between two large lakes and the farms in this area grow in the 2000masl range. The estate took 2nd place in the 2007 Tanzania Taste of Harvest Competition and it uses varietals developed by the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI). The varietals found in this lot include KP432, K9 and K7, all hybrids of the Kent varietal, which made its way to Tanzania in the 1920’s from India.

Honest gives us tasting descriptions of, “blood orange, oolong tea like body, honeydew finish” for this coffee. I uses my usual 1:16 ratio of coffee to water (28g/450g respectively) in the notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters. I get about a 3:45 brew time with my grind size.

I’m back in the fits of allergies again this spring, so my schnozz wasn’t picking on much aroma. It might be there, but even a little inflammation is enough to greatly alter aroma and fragrance detection. Sorry! Flavors in the cup are a totally different story, though! This is a bright and sweet coffee, but quite unlike its coffee-giant neighbor to the north, Kenya. There is nice acidity right up front, falling squarely between what I would call orange and lemon. Blood orange may be accurate, although it has been many years since I ate one, so I can’t comment on that. The acidity is bright and full but it’s not as sharp as lemon while at the same time being edgier than orange. It carries a sweetness with it, too, that is honey-like for me. My wife had some honey-ginger ice cream over the weekend and there was some component in the honey part that I’m finding in this coffee, too. In the second half of the sip there is a distinct honeydew melon (I usually don’t agree as much with bag descriptions, but Honest Coffee’s have been spot on for me across the board) along with a softer acidity. It would be quite easy to miss, so it’s not a strong flavor, but it’s there and I also noticed it along with a little graham cracker in the aftertaste. This melon flavor seems to get more noticeable as the coffee cools, too. I don’t know that I would go so far as to call the body “tea-like” on this one. I think it’s a little slicker and a little more substantial than that and I would place it solidly in the “medium” body category. It has a pretty short aftertaste and a sweet finish.

This is a really interesting coffee. The acidity is different, the sweetness has a twist to it with that honey component and the melon component is not always the easiest to pick out, but it’s pretty apparent in this cup for me. It’s an unusual coffee in all good ways, and that always makes me happy. I want to call it “delicate” but it really isn’t. The acidity and the sweetness drill into the palate pretty strongly. It has a relatively light mouthfeel and the aftertaste drops off quickly, so I think that’s why my mind keeps thinking “delicate.” But then I take another sip and the flavors are bold and clear and so it’s anything but delicate in that regard! This is a really nice find from Honest Coffee Roasters and I think it’s my favorite of the three coffees they sent me. Excellent!