Blackburn Estate Forest AA
It was only in the late-eighties, when the government began to free up the market, that Michael started to explore farming coffee. Blackburn is now an award-winning estate, distinguished not only by taste but also by Michael’s commitment to ecologically-sound farming.
Blackburn is insecticide free – in other words, close to producing fully organic coffee. In previous years, spot applications of insecticide were required to control against green scale. But since the introduction of bio-control with seven separate species of ladybird, this is no longer necessary. No tilling is carried out and weeds are controlled by careful and sparing application of glyphosate. A leaf mulch of organic waste materials from the mill is then spread between the coffee plants to prevent re-growth and to lock moisture into the soil, which serves to sustain the coffee plants during the dry seasons.
Kenya’s less well-known neighbour produces an astoundingly similar-tasting coffee in a somewhat similar landscape. Coffee is marketed by both an auction system organised by the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) and direct sale.
Arabica seedlings were first introduced to the country from Réunion Island (then known as Bourbon) and planted in the Bayamoyo and Mogoro regions (fairly close to Dar Es Salaam) and were later established as a successful commercial crop in 1893 on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro by German colonizers.