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Drying Beds As Banks

Drying Beds Serve As Banks

The 2018 momentum led members to deliver record amounts of cherry to the 2019 season. Too much cherry, in fact, to be handled appropriately at the washing station. What they needed was increased drying capacity, which is also what we need to address concerns about water activity, fading and aging which have kept many specialty roasters away from Southern Tanzanian coffees and their “mild Colombian” profile.

We’re here to show you that there’s more to Tanzania coffee than AA or PB auction lots.

So, in early 2019 Crop to Cup ponied up $3,000 to buy 60 massive, metal drying beds. The goal was to get 120 drying beds built before the 2019-2020 season. Expanded drying capacity will allow more farmers to deliver cherry to the washing station, instead of processing at home, allowing them to get paid more quickly, and giving the AMCOS (Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society) the patience (and tools) they need to dry appropriately.

Crop to Cup started scouting for talent in Tanzania back in 2012. We went straight to Mbeya in the south, where smallholders were seeing their coffees bulked up before getting cupped at auctions held in the north.

Our first friends there were members of the Mwalyego AMCOS – a group of 150 farming families who have banded together to make a career out of coffee. They were later joined by neighboring Iyenga AMCOS, whose leadership was similarly motivated to invest in specialty.

In Tanzania farmers ‘own’ their coffee all the way to export. This results in a flat first payment – an advance that coops give to members upon collection – as well as a final payment that takes profit from sales, less costs, as a distribution to members. This means that investments come out of the final payment, which can motivate members to deliver their coffee elsewhere.

Which is why we are pitching in for high-quality metal construction; the AMCOS provides all labor, and we help with the $50 of materials for each drying bed. Metal will keep operating costs low – wooden stands must be maintained and replaced every few years. And the beds themselves are strong enough to support the group through peak harvest.


Crop to Cup
Taylor Winch Tanzania

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