You know, we’ve been getting coffee all wrong at work. A good cup of coffee should involve singing and dancing.
We’ve arrived in Moshi in northern Tanzania to complete six weeks of volunteering teaching English. Our work didn’t begin until Monday, which gave us the weekend to get to know fellow volunteers at the hostel.
We participated in a group activity that took us to the foothills of Kilimanjaro. We toured a small coffee farm in the village of Materuni and learned how to make coffee from bean to cup.
Farmers from the Chagaa tribe practice mixed farming at Materuni that complements two types of coffee grown: Arabica and Robusta. Banana trees on the farm provide shade for the coffee bushes, while avocados are used as fertilizer.
After harvesting and shelling the coffee berries, villagers sell them to a local cooperative that buys coffee collectively across Tanzania for export.
I was expecting the villagers to produce already roasted beans to make our coffee. Instead, they asked each of us to pick five red berries that we used in the coffee making process.
We all took turns – flipping the berries to separate the shells, stirring the beans over the fire as they roasted, and pounding the beans into a fine powder. Singing and dancing helped everyone keep the beat, and a particularly outgoing four-year-old kept us laughing with his moves!
At one point we all ate coffee grounds mixed with sugar (even the girls) and then we had several cups of coffee before leaving.
Earlier in the day we had hiked to Materuni (or Nambi) Falls. The 90 metre waterfall was impressive, but our group of Westerners was also a sight to see for locals. Quite a few came out to watch us swim in the chilly water.
People used to the Pacific Ocean or North Atlantic didn’t find the water too cold, so we spent quite a bit of time swimming under the falls to the cave behind. Some of us just simply wanted to cool off from the heat.
Thank goodness for the hike to the falls, because despite all the coffee, the girls (and us) managed to fall asleep immediately that night!