Get to know the Banana beer


The chagga are Bantu ethnic group from Kilimanjaro Region in Tanzania, They are the 3rd Largest ethnic group in Tanzania. The chagga people come from the hills at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. The Chagga tribe also has a unique tradition and that is Mbege commonly known as Banana Beer but with a taste more like wine.

MBEGE is a distinctive tradition practiced by the chagga people. Ripe bananas and millet powder that has been sprouted are used to make the alcoholic bevarage Mbege. To produce Mbege not just any kind of bananas can be used but only a specific kind of bananas from the farm are gathered. Traditionally, Mbege is brewed only by women, it is a very time consuming process.

After stored bananas in a warm, dark place to ripen after they are harvested. Bananas can take up to seven days to reach adequate ripeness depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

After they are ripe, the bananas skin are removed and the bananas are put in a big pot of water to cook. The bananas are initially yellowish-white, but after 6 hours of cooking, they turn a reddish- brown color, which indicates that they ready for futher process. Banana mix is then poured into a container and left to ferment for several days while fermenting the finger millet is produced. The millet is normally put inside a plastic sheet to germinate. Once sprouted, the millet is dried in the sun and crushed to a fine powder to make flour. When the white bubbles appear on the surface of banana mixture, it is ready. This is often the stage when the men will be asked to assist with filtering the liquid through a local sieve. To make a thick porridge, millet flour is mixed with some water. This is the last step needed to successfully prepare the Mbege beer. The millet and banana mixture are mixed together and a few strips of quinine bark are also added and left overnight. The quinine adds a slightly bitter taste to the beer. The brew is then ready to be drunk as Mbege on the following day.

1st Day – Mbege is between 0.5% and 1.5% but as the mixture continues to ferment it becomes more potent. In the beginning, the taste is sweet and then sour towards the end. Occasionally it is quite bitter as well as malty from the millet.

Has for the Chagga some of the Wameru people who live on the slopes of Mount Meru consider Mbege to be part of their culture and this is also a main reason of Mbege (banana beer) to be made also in Arusha has it is part and parcel of their culture.

Mbege is also part of Traditional Lobola before the wedding takes place. It is drunk at weddings, funerals, birthdays and business meetings.

Dont miss this opportunity when you are in Tanzania especially in the Northen Part, in tregion of Kilimanjaro and Arusha this are places which you will be able to taste the uniqueness and feel the local banana beer, which you will remember for the rest of your life and dream about it. It is good to experience this moment after you had have your trip to Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Meru or Safari to our beautiful national parks such as Serengeti,Ngorongoro,Lake Manyara,Tarangire,Mikumi and Ruaha. To be honest this will help you because it will be your time to rest and your body to relax.

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