33 Cups for a Buck: Drinking Street Coffee in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

By Mark Wiens 8 Comments
Dar Es Salaam - Street Coffee
Tanzania Street Coffee in Dar Es Salaam

3 Cents

That’s what it will cost you to enjoy a cup of coffee on the sweaty streets of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Dish out a few more cents and you’ll have the pleasure of alternating between sips of coffee and nibbles of sweet peanut brittle; It’s the choice method of sweetening coffee in these parts.

Tanzania’s mobile street coffee shops are usually run by men or boys in their youth. They use the absolute minimal amount of basic supplies to bring their customers a pleasing shot of java.

Though street coffee in Dar Es Salaam is location unpredictable, it always seems to show up on the sandy sidewalks when the time is right and you desperately need that energy boost.

Unlike the calm coffee ambiance of Jaws Corner in Zanzibar, in Dar Es Salaam you’ll most likely be standing and catching whiffs from the street as you sip down your brew.

Coffee in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Coffee in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Using two arms, the vendor is able to transport his entire coffee shop to seek out his clients.

In one arm he carries the giant coffee pot filled to the brim with brewed black goodness. In the other he carries a bucket of water and a tupperware of random supplies including about 3 little handleless glass coffee cups.

He serves his beverage from the cups and rinses them off in the bucket of water he carries in his left hand. As the day progresses the water becomes a little more tainted with each rinse.

How to Keep Coffee Hot
How to Keep Coffee Hot

Among the most practical designs of technology are the neat little rusted out metal trays that attatch to the bottom of the coffee kettle, keeping the coffee scorchingly hot at all times.

Note: All 3 cups are used by every customer throughout the day and get rinsed off in the same bucket of dirty water. If you would like to enjoy street coffee in Tanzania and are concerned with sanitary conditions feel free to bring your own cup and ask the vendor to serve it to you.

Each cup of coffee runs 50 Tanzania Shillings ($0.03).

That’s 33 cups for a buck! 

8 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Flaviana Msaki

    9 years ago

    I am selling best qulaity cofee – organo Gold cofee now. is free from caffein just contact me on +255 676399174

    Karibu sana

  • Rafiki

    12 years ago

    Reminds me of my good old days in Dar.
    We call it “kawa” … That’s black coffee…
    No cream or sugar…. I used to pay 10
    Tanzanian cents for a small cup… Back in the
    Early Seventies. At that time 7 shillings
    We’re worth one dollar. Huge inflation now.
    Asante sana.

  • Jasmine

    13 years ago

    And I thought coffee in Colombia was cheap at 25 cents a cup! I must get over there!

    • Mark Wiens

      13 years ago

      Perhaps Colombian coffee is better quality and maybe a bigger size – these are pretty small cups!

  • Tyler @ roundtheworldtravelchallenge.com

    13 years ago

    How was the quality? Where are the beans from?

    If it’s any good, I expect 1 post/day with all that caffeine in your system!

    • Mark Wiens

      13 years ago

      Hey Tyler,
      The quality is decent, not amazing beans, but they do make it strong and it tastes great! Yes, plenty of post coming soon!