We left Zambia and drove to Tanzania. The road was very bad, with lots of pot holes and trucks in the way. Getting across the border took 4 hours! It was a nice, new and clean border post, but their computers were broken and couldn’t talk to the bank, so Daddy had to wait for ages until they agreed to accept cash and let us go. Daddy was very grumbly.
We drove to Utengule Coffee Lodge where instead of camping, we rented a huge bungalow with real beds and mosquito nets that look like princess beds. I like this place very much, but not as much as Daddy because he loves coffee.
We went on a big tour of the coffee plantation and learned lots of interesting things:
- There are three main types of coffee plant – Liberica, Robusta and Arabica. Arabica is what they grow here, it only likes growing at high altitude. We learned that it also only fruits on what the man called secondary branches – Daddy said this was the same as apples. He told us that the fruit are called cherries, and that unlike all other fruit they throw away the skin and sweet flesh, and keep the stone. (ed – they compost this, and feed the trees). Brown means the cherry is overripe, green underripe, and red is just right.
- We learned all about the types of diseases coffee plants get – Daddy said this was very similar to peaches and nectarines. We saw leaves that had been hurt by rust and insects, and from trees that didn’t get the right minerals.
- They grow all their own trees in their nursery – they have 20,000 baby trees ready to replace ones that get sick! They never sell or buy trees, as the man said the trees are their gold. This means that their coffee plantation is unique and no other coffee tastes the same.
- We saw the machine that they use to remove the skin and flesh from the beans. The beans then get washed down a little river to where they get fermented just like beer! This removes all the sugar. They stir the beans with wooden paddles to avoid damaging them. This is very important. There are two types of bean – sinkers (the best), or floaters (unripe or overripe).
- The beans then get dried in the sun for a few weeks, sorted to remove bad ones that still have skin on them, then they get roasted or sent away to other people who want to roast them themselves.
- We saw a little roasting machine and they roasted us some beans to take in the Taniwha! They know the roast is finished when they count the crackles, like popcorn!
- I tried an espresso but it was yuck. Daddy drank it. He said it was the best coffee that he had ever tasted.
When the tour finished we walked up a big steep hill and the view was good. Then we walked back to the bungalow and are having a restaurant dinner for the first time in ages! I like this place.