In Southern Tanzania between Lake Tanganyika on the north and Lake Malawi to the south, we find Mbeya, the largest producer of Arabica in Tanzania’s five coffee growing regions. Mbeya is divided into four districts/subregions--Mbeya, Mbozi, Rungwe, and Ileje.
Coffee production itself is divided into three categories as well--smallholders processing their own coffee on site, smallholders processing their cherries at central mills/washing stations, and coffee grown on the larger estates. Often, farmer-processed coffees are not up to specialty standards, though some growers are changing that. For smallholders, washing stations/mills give the best chance for quality processing.
In Mbeya, the main variety of Arabica grown is Bourbon, known as Mbozi locally. The region enjoys a subtropical highland climate—humid, warm summer seasons and dry, cooler winters. The rainy season lasts from March to May, and annual rainfall averages a bountiful 35 inches.