At our farm Shangri-La Estate, the farm factory lies surrounded by coffee fields. To provide shade for our coffee trees, we have replanted ancient rainforest trees such as the Cordia Africana species and the umbrella acacia trees. The coffee berries we harvest to produce our high-quality premium coffee grow on nearly 400,000 coffee trees, divided into different blocks of coffee.
The majority of the farmland of Shangri-La Estate is dedicated to the chocolate and nutty-tasting Bourbon variety; an Arabica bean with a full body, fine spicy aroma and decent acidity.
The ‘old man’ on our farm is the Blue Mountain Coffee. Its history dates back to the 1920’s when Tanzania was still a colony. Because the harvest is rather small and the trees grow in small blocks surrounded by other varieties, we only sell this strong and luxurious coffee as our farm blend, noted for its harmonious sweetness.
Our most recent addition is the distinctively fruity, almost flowery tasting Geisha brand. While the variety used to be a well-kept secret, it is now a star among coffee lovers. We sell this brand as an exclusive, single field coffee in our shop.
Our top priority is to produce coffee of the highest quality possible. That is why, from the planting to the roasting of the coffee beans, nothing is left to chance.
In our nursery, the green coffee beans are first put into sandy soil to germinate. After about three months, we move the seedlings, commonly called ‘little soldiers’, to a richer volcanic soil. After another nine months, we plant the young trees onto the fields where they can fully develop.
The coffee trees need a good three years before they bloom for the first time. For Arabica varieties like the ones we grow at Shangri-La, we can estimate the size of the harvest based on the number of blossoms, as they are self-pollinating. The blossoms and the fruit sit directly on the branches and ripen after seven to nine months. At Shangri-La, we harvest selectively, which means that our pickers only harvest the red and ripe berries. This procedure has a crucial effect on the taste of the coffee, as harvesting green berries ruins the flavour. An experienced picker can harvest about four 20kg buckets per day. This is equivalent to approximately eight kilos of sun-dried, green coffee beans.
Immediately after harvesting, the red coffee berries are pulped and sorted by size. Subsequently, the green beans are washed with soft spring water. The spring water needed for the pre-processing is reused many times in order to keep our water consumption at a minimum. For our water supply, we have drilled our own well, and the water we draw from this well is also used for watering the plants on the fields.
After the wet pre-processing phase, the beans are left to dry for 10-15 days, during which we aim to maintain residual moisture content in the beans of approximately 12%. In this phase, the still unshelled coffee beans are also known as parchment coffee. Next, the beans are left to rest for a period of time.
Before shipping, the beans must be milled in order to remove the parchment and silver skins. The shelled coffee beans are graded by size and colour and subsequently filled into 60kg hemp bags. Our Kifaru Coffee is not roasted until after it arrives in Denmark, to avoid any quality losses during long ocean shipments. A slow and gentle roasting process in drum roasters allows exact control of the progress, which facilitates a precisely defined taste. This slows roasting process also cuts back on any remaining unwanted acidity and makes our gently roasted premium coffee brands remarkably palatable.
It is important that the coffee is not roasted too strongly. If the outside of the beans is burnt, the so-called Maillard-reaction leads to other unwanted substances including acrylamides. Our Kifaru coffee is roasted on a monthly basis to guarantee the full aroma and freshness of a speciality coffee. Directly after the roasting, we pack and store our beans for a short time to allow them to degas. Finally, the coffee reaches its final destination, either at one of our selected distributors or directly through our webshop.