The Kilimanjaro coffee festival

Arabica coffee grown around mount Kilimanjaro, is considered by many to be the best in the world. There was no way I was going to miss the "Kahawa festival", held once a year in Moshi town, a major center of coffee trade in Tanzania.
local Kilimanjaro coffee packages

What's the meaning of Kahawa?

Entrance to 2022 Kahawa festival
2022 Kahawa festival. Photographer: Dan Kaziri

Kahawa means… you guessed it- coffee. That’s the Swahili word for coffee. This word, like many others in the Swahili vocabulary, originates from the Arabic language. After all, coffee was first brewed in Arabic speaking Yemen.
To wrap things up nicely, the festival took place in the Kahawa house– where big auctions of green Arabica beans are being held.

Tanzanians enjoying great home grown Arabica coffee
Enjoying great localy grown Arabica coffee. Photographer: Dan Kaziri

Tanzanians and tourists, people from the industry looking to make new connections, or people coming for a nice time and lots of coffee tastings. Each with their own reason, there was a lot to see and learn. And, me, I came for you of course. Driving down to Moshi town is something I do a lot, every day sometimes, from my home on the Kilimanjaro.
Just like everybody here, I’m a big fan of the local Arabica coffee.

My new friends from Tanzania coffee research institute
My new friends from Tanzania coffee research institute
Peaple gathering around the Africafe stand
Africafe is a popular local brand. Photographer: Dan Kaziri

Here are some of the things I liked best along the festival stands and attractions:

Union coffee

Union café is my go to spot in Moshi town. I love their coffee and their welcoming staff.

bags of union coffee
Organic Kilimanjaro coffee with history dating back to the 19th century.

Running into their stand was a double win for me. I got to drink my favorite coffee, and I found out about the rich history of the union, being the first café in Moshi, and one of the first coffee unions in Tanzania.

Union coffee team- organic Kilimanjaro coffee
Union coffee team- organic Kilimanjaro coffee

Spiced coffee

This was by far the most popular stand in the festival. Coming from the Swahili coast of Tanzania, where spices are grown, Kahawa Lishe mix numerous spices and other ingredients- including even tree resin- with the coffee. The mix is said to have healing properties, and can bring relief to a number of medical conditions.

Fascinated viewers at the Kahawa Lishe stand

The barista competition

The competition took place throughout the 3 days of the festival. Young baristas from all around arrived to demonstrate their skills.

The barista competition
The barista competition

The coffee research institute

In order to maximize the quality and yield of Tanzanian coffee, the institute conducts extensive field research. They meet the farmers, most of them owners of family micro plots, hear them, and see where training is needed.

Representatives of Tanzania coffee research institute
Representatives of Tanzania coffee research institute
Coffee grades in Tanzania

Best coffee packaging

This was definitely the most beautiful packages in the festival. African fabrics and Kilimanjaro coffee- perfect!

beautiful packages of coffee
My favorite packaging- by

The Kahawa house

It was only becoming that the festival took place in the Kahawa house, where small farm growers come to sell their Arabica coffee yield.

Coffee sacks waiting for auction
Coffee sacks waiting for auction

The coffee market in Tanzania is regulated by the government. The aim is to protect the small scale farmers and to insure they get a fair price for their yield.

Kahawa house in Moshi
Kahawa house in Moshi

Seasonal auctions for all of the Kilimanjaro region, regulated by the coffee board, take place in this building- Kahawa house.

Is Kilimanjaro coffee the best in the world?

It is! If you ask me, and millions of consumers.

The lower elevations of mount Kilimanjaro provide optimal conditions for Arabica coffee bushes to thrive. For that reason, Arabica coffee is also known as “Mountain coffee”.

In rainy and cool environment, the coffee bushes grow under the shade of banana trees, surrounded by the dense natural forest which contributes to enriching and protecting the land. To this day, Kilimanjaro farmers keep their coffee cultivation organic and sustainable.

Kilimanjaro- home to quality Arabica coffee

Thank you Kahawa festival, It’s been fun!

See you next year…

Ella Harari the Wandering Goddess and her Maasai mama friend

Our own Coffee storyteller:
Ella Harari– the Wandering Goddess.

Checkout my Wandering Goddess blog !

I’m wandering around East Africa in search of tribal traditions and African wisdom. See you there 🙂

coffee types


Ella Harrari

Ella Harrari

Ella "the Wandering Goddess" is a traveler and a coffee teller :-)

About Us

We are at “Elijah Coffee” group of people who love coffe and have something to say about it :-)


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