Acacia Hills

This coffee estate in Tanzania is a partnership of growers and roasters. Owned by Mark Stell (Portland Roasting Company) and Leon and Aideen Christianakis (local Tanzanian coffee farmers), this relationship is a powerful combo that works to elevate coffee in the entire Ngorongoro region through a yearly cupping event.

Watch owners Mark Stell, Aideen & Leon Christianakis chat about all things Acacia Hills, from recent harvest conditions to their elephant problem:

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People

Mark Stell

Owner
Portland USA

Leon Christianakis

Owner
Tanzania

Aideen Christianakis

Owner
Tanzania

Beyond the Cup

Cupping at the Crater

From the inception of Acacia Hills, the goal was to not only improve their own coffee, but to elevate the coffee of the entire region. With Mark having first hand experience as a coffee buyer, he understood the appeal of being able source and explore a region at a single, central cupping. From this, the Ngorongoro Coffee Group was born and in 2012 their inaugural ‘Cupping at the Crater’ event was held – which we were lucky enough to attend!

What started off as just Acacia Hills Estate and their neighbouring farm, Shangri-La Estate, has grown to a group over 6 estates in the Ngoronrogo region. Receiving cupping feedback from a variety of people, exploring what other estates are producing, and the sharing of growing and processing knowledge among farms has helped improve the coffee quality of all involved.

Tanzania Water Project

After assessing the local area around the farm, 3 small villages – roughly 2,000 people, the Acacia Hills team found that 25% of their workforce were always sick from waterborne illness or suffering dehydration, and the average house was walking 6 hours a day for water. With these shocking stats in mind, the Tanzania Water Project was started and fundraising began with Five Senses, as well as many other coffee roasters around the world, jumping on board.

With a water source on the Acacia Hills farm that had not been developed in the last 70 years, an ambitious piping and storage project began. Bringing water down to the village and setting up storage tanks has considerably improved the access to water in the local area. This project is an excellent example of both wanting to be a positive impact in the local area and an improvement for the business – healthy workers are needed on the farm. Win, win!

Relationship Timeline

2021

 
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The inaugural Tanzanian Ngorongoro Private Collection Auction was held in partnership with theAlliance for Coffee Excellence. Acacia Hills took out both 1st + 2nd place in the rankings, as well as have six lots in the top ten! We’re proud to have supported, purchased and championed their agronomy experimentation and evolution over the years, and have already secured one of these winning lots to be released later in 2021!

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2020

Acacia Hills Estate helped us kick off our Explorer Cupping series with dedicated interviews. We were also able to feature their first honey processed Gesha! Read more. 
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2018

Second harvest of Gesha hits our line-up, as well as the first Pacamara harvest. This Gesha again features in our ‘Geshas Around the World’ tasting flight at MICE.

Project: Tanzania Water Project.
From building an elephant proof dam to piping water 1.5 miles to the village and setting up multiple 500L tanks, this hasn’t been a small project. The result: bringing easy water access to over 2000 people!
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2017

Five senses coffee product name Acacia Hills, Geisha from Tanzania

The first harvest of Gesha arrives! This coffee features in our ‘Geshas Around the World’ tasting flight at MICE.
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2014

Willing to expand and experiement, new Geisha, Pacamara and Castillo trees are planted on the farm.
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2013

Acacia Hills Estate TanzaniaFirst purchase from Acacia Hills Estate hits out lineup!

Five Senses attended the second Cupping at the Crater. Read More.
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2012

After a chance meeting with our green bean buyer at the Gems or Araku cupping event in India, Mark invited Five Senses to attend the inaugural Cupping in the Crater Event.
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2007

Mark Stell and Leon & Aideen Christianakis purchase a run-down Acacia Hills Estate and begin the long task of getting it operational again.

Contact Acacia Hills

Website: www.acaciahillscoffeeestate.com
Instagram: @acaciahillscoffee

Coffee from this relationship

These Peaberries, which naturally occur in around 4% of coffee cherries, ripened on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania. Careful sorting of the harvest from a 50 year old farm results in this unique Peaberry lot. Long term partners of Five Senses, Leon and Aideen Christianakis have been refining the processing at Acacia Hills for decades, as this Peaberry lot exemplifies. Resulting from only one seed ripening inside a coffee cherry, these barrel-shaped beans offer a distinctly different flavour of this dramatic terroir. While we're big fans of the coffees grown at Acacia Hills, we also love the work Leon and Aideen have done to support producer peers in the region, alongside their social impact work with local communities. Delicious and positive!
Perched on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, both the farm and coffee of Acacia Hills are beautiful and compelling. This is the third season that the team at Acacia Hills have been producing this Pacamara lot with the output volume slowly increasing each year as the trees mature. Pacamara is often highly sought after for its rich and deeply complex flavour characteristics which can vary greatly depending on where it is grown. Expect flavours of ripe passionfruit and peach nectar, a beautiful smooth mouthfeel and a lingering sweet finish.
Close to the birth-place of Gesha, we’ve been working with Acacia Hills in Tanzania for numerous years. The dramatic landscape on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater and the surrounding micro-climate has resulted in a unique expression of the Gesha varietal. Look forward to flavours of grapefruit and bergamot tea, elegant acidity with a crisp, short finish. Note: no discounts can be used on this coffee.