In 1919 Missionaries brought the first coffee seeds to Utengule and started coffee cultivation on their land at the foot of the mighty Mbeya peak. They quickly realized that the coffee coming from those first trees were of exceptional quality and expanded the area rapidly. Already in 1925 they founded the “Mährische Plantagengesellschaft AG” and continued to expand coffee growing in the area.
The variety planted at that time was the original Bourbon, which came from the Bourbon island (today La Reunion) in the Indian Ocean. Utengule is proud that by today there are still some of those very first coffee trees present on the farm and after 80 years they continue to produce coffee of fine quality.
Seedlings are grown in the own nursery and are planted into the field in December when the rainy season has started.
10 days after the first rainfall the coffee bushes bring out the flowers and over the coming months the small green cherry grow to full maturity and are ready for picking between May and August.
During the harvest many people, in the majority women, come from the nearby villages to Utengule for coffee picking. In this time the fields are filled with life and colour and people obviously enjoy their work.
After sorting and pulping of the cherry, the parchment coffee is dried in the sun for about 10 – 12 days and thereafter is bagged and stored for about 8 weeks on the farm.
The quality is regularly checked on its physical appearance and cup taste. A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee's taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness (the perceived sweetness at the sides of the tongue, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling at the tip of the tongue, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste.
Finally the coffee is sent to the export mill for hulling, polishing, sorting and bagging. The coffee is now ready for export.