Acacia Hills Estate
Butterscotch & blood orange with a syrupy mouthfeel and smooth finish.
Perched on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, both the farm and coffee of Acacia Hills stands beautiful and compelling. Butterscotch aromas lead to blood orange and cola flavours, and a syrup-like weighty finish. Truly this coffee does the farm’s rich 50 year history justice. This estate is located a short three hour drive from the city of Arusha in Northern Tanzania and the closest town of Karatu is mere ‘eight ridges’ away. This part of Tanzania is surrounded by some of Africa’s most famous landscapes including the Ngorongoro crater and National Park which is teeming with all the quintessential African wildlife which make this area a spectacular and unique part of the world.
Elephants, giraffes, hippos, buffalo, zebras, wildebeest, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetah and hyenas are all found here — to name just a few! Acacia Hills Estate has been in existence for over 50 years, but it was only five years ago that Mark Stell from Portland Roasting Company and Leon and Aideen Christianakis (local Tanzanian coffee farmers) decided to purchase and re-invigorate the Estate with a new ‘speciality’ approach.
Now things like variety, processing, soil analysis, sides of the mountain etc. matter and are taken into account over the whole growing process. What had become an old, disused farm is now thriving and green and is finally producing the abundant crops of beautiful coffee which they always knew this region was capable of. It’s a real testament to their hard work and effort — and also their passionate belief that they could make their little place on the top of the ridge into something special. The farm currently harvests Bourbon and Kent varieties and is in the process of experimenting with Geisha, Pacamara and Castillo.
The farm house looks over the lush coffee trees with an unobstructed view of the mountains and Lake Eyasi. The farm itself is the highest altitude farm in the region and they have planted the Geisha and Pacamara varieties at the very top at 1900masl. This small estate has its own purpose-built cupping lab with everything required to analyse coffees onsite. They use a brand new Penogas wet mill and specialise in micro-lots and honey milled coffees; all the coffees are dried on raised beds. It’s all about the small details here and we consider this estate a bit of a diamond in the rough.
Tanzania Water Project
After an assessment on water accessibility around Acacia Hills Estate (owned by Portland Roasting Company), it was decided that this was a HUGE need – families were spending six hours a day collecting water. The goal: bring easy water access to over 2000 people!
From building an elephant proof dam to piping water 1.5 miles to the village and setting up multiple 500L tanks, this hasn’t been a small project! Read the most recent report here: Tanzania Water Project
A collaboration that spanned the globe, spearheaded by Portland Global Initiatives (founded by Mark Stell), with Acacia Hills Estate, Portland Roasting Company, and Java Jackets, and a healthy does of support from roasters around the world, such as yours truly.
More on Acacia Hills Estate
This coffee estate in Tanzania is a partnership of growers and roasters. Owned by Mark Stell (Portland Roasting Company) and Leon and Aideen Christianakis (local Tanzanian coffee farmers), this relationship is a powerful combo that works to elevate coffee in the entire Ngorongoro region through a yearly cupping event.
Acacia Hills washing station.
The coffee nursery.
Harvest time at Acacia Hills.