Arusha Coffee Beans: A Unique Arabica Variety
Just when you thought you’d learned everything there is to know about Arabica, here comes Arusha coffee! Arusha coffee is a rare varietal that may have escaped your notice. It takes its name from a city in Tanzania, East Africa, where it grows. But what is Arusha coffee, and what does it taste like?
This article looks closer at Arusha coffee beans: a unique Arabica variety.
What Is Arusha Coffee?
Arusha coffee is an Arabica varietal. Various websites have conflicting information about whether Arusha coffee is classified as a sub-variety of Bourbon coffee or Typica coffee. The Specialty Coffee Association designates it as more closely related to Bourbon (1).
Not much is known about the exact origins of Arusha coffee. But let’s quickly examine the differences between Typica and Bourbon to understand why Arusha coffee is difficult to pinpoint as one or the other.
Typica Vs Bourbon
Both Typica and Bourbon are classified as Coffea arabica. They originated in Ethiopia and were transported to Yemen.
The coffees that we call Typicas today originated from plants that left Yemen and were taken to Java and outlying Islands . . . The coffees we call Bourbon today stem from plants transported to Ile Bourbon with the French.
Today, both varietals yield popular cups of specialty coffee. They are also both highly susceptible to all major pests and diseases, which is why so many sub-varieties have evolved or been bred.
The notable differences between Typica and Bourbon are where they were transported from Yemen and their appearance. Typica is known for its bronze-tipped leaves and its large fruits and seeds. In contrast, Bourbon is seen with wider leaves and rounder seeds and fruits.
Looking at photos of Arusha coffee plants, they appear to resemble Bourbon more closely with their rounder fruits. Yet, they also share similar characteristics to Typica with their narrower browned leaves.
Where Do Arusha Coffee Beans Grow?
Arusha coffee beans grow in the highlands of Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. Arusha is a region in Tanzania’s Northern Highlands. Arusha coffee is primarily grown in Arusha and the nearby regions of Kigoma, Moshi, and Tarime (2).
This coffee thrives at high altitudes, well over 5000 ft. Due to the nutrient-dense soils, few chemicals are needed to grow these coffee plants.
Tanzania’s economy depends on coffee production as its greatest exportable crop, with an annual yield of 30 to 40 thousand metric tons.
For a brief video walkthrough of a coffee tour in Arusha, check out this YouTube video.
Arusha Coffee Beans Flavors
Arusha coffee is known for its compelling flavors. It has a spicy mix of chocolate, molasses, raisin, and roasted praline flavor notes, and the best beans are imbued with a deep bitter earthiness and balanced by bright acidity. The prevailing aroma is powerfully nutty.
Arusha coffee is a unique Arabica variety related to Bourbon coffee that grows in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. Conflicting sources classify Arusha simultaneously as a Bourbon coffee and a Typica coffee, but its genetic heritage is irrelevant to its exceptional flavors. If you’re lucky enough to try Arusha coffee, you’ll enjoy cups high in acidity and deep in herbal chocolatey notes.
Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee are grown in Tanzania, with Arabica making up 70% of the total coffee production in this region and Robusta consisting of the remaining 30%. The main Arabica varieties grown are Bourbon and Kent, as well as N39, Nyassa, and Typica (3).
Tanzanian coffee is very good. The Arabica coffee produced in this region is always of high quality. Tanzanian coffee beans often taste better with a longer roast time. They work exceptionally well as medium and dark roasts.
Tanzanian Peaberry coffee tastes like a rich, chocolatey brew with the faintest hints of blackcurrant and a light sweetness in every sip. More experienced coffee connoisseurs will pick up floral notes and citrusy hints of pineapple and coconut. It is delicious enjoyed hot or cold.
- Specialty Coffee Association. (2021). Coffee Plants of the World. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://sca.coffee/research/coffee-plants-of-the-world
- Gakuo, P. (2022, October 11). Exploring coffee grading systems: Tanzania. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/10/exploring-coffee-grading-systems-tanzania/
- Gakuo, P. (2021, October 13). A guide to Tanzanian coffee production. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/10/a-guide-to-tanzanian-coffee-production/