Beyond Coffee

Where we come from...

Like everyone also Lunji has a story to tell, and quite a story it is.

 1898, when  Tanzania was a German colony, part of the then so-called  "Deutsch Ost-Afrika" ,  the  german expat Emil Koestlin bought a piece of land here in the  beautiful southern highlands of Tanzania. Apart from  a few hundred neighbouring pupils from the Safwa tribe, this area was then bushland. Emil Koestlin called his piece of land "Mbeya-Hof", where he began with cultivating 3 ha of coffee and breeding donkeys. He also had up to 1500 cattle, some pigs and grew some maize, barley, and numerous fruit trees.

After the defeat of the germans in WW1, and Tanganyika becoming  a british protectorate, Mr Koestlin was forced to leave his belongings, and was imprisoned in Egypt before going to exile in South America. He was later killed in Mozambique when he got caught up in a tribal conflict upon his return to Africa. 

The english followers soon discovered the great potential for coffee in the area. The fertile soil and exceptional microclimate of the place nurtured the idea of expanding the coffee cultivation, which at the time was soon to become the most important export crop of Tanganyika. 

In 1928 the english cleared more land and planted more coffee on the property they now called  Lunji Estate. It is likely that the name "Lunji" originates from the ancient Safwa name "Ilunji" for a tree that can be found in the area.

Lunji today......

Today Lunji is a medium sized, coffee plantation, with 30 employees, and up to 150 seasonal workers during the harvesting period. The farm is beeing managed by Clemens and Stella Maier  for over 20 years, and legaly functions as a partnership between german Clemens Maier and swiss Thomas Plattner since 1994 .  Apart from coffee, also  avocados, apples, chicken, pigs, and a wide number of different fruits and vegetables flourish on the land.

General data:

Size (Coffee)

94 ha


1500-1700 m

Average annual rainfall

 1150 mm

Average temperature     

Day 23C°  /  Night 13C°


At the foot of 2839m Peak of the Mbeya Range, hilly


fertile, volcanic, sandy loam/clay loam,  slightly acidic, ph 4.7-5.7