Green Coffee Offerings : Africa : Uganda
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We had a special project cooking in Uganda - same project I visited in November. But the coffee production was very small and not very good quality. So we are still hopeful for new opportunities, but we shall see. No new arrivals on the horizon at this point.
About Ugandan Coffee
Coffee farmers in Uganda, Sipi Falls sub-region.
While Arabica was introduced at the beginning of the 1900's, Robusta coffee is indigenous to the country, and has been a part of Ugandan life for centuries. The variety of wild Robusta coffee still growing today in Uganda's rain forests are thought to be some of the rarest examples of naturally occurring coffee trees anywhere in the world. The coffee trees are intercropped with traditional food crops and grown in the shade of banana trees and other shade trees. In these self-sustaining conditions, coffee is left to grow naturally, flowering on average twice a year.
Uganda has the unfortunate circumstance of being landlocked, and needing good relations with its neighbors to move its coffee crop to a port city. Transportation bottlenecks can result in containers of full of steaming coffee beans stuck on the back of a truck or a dock somewhere ...not good for quality! But in recent years the problems of unstable East African politics and weak infrastructure seem to be improving, judging from the excellent quality coffee coming from the Northern Bugisu region along the Kenya border. Good marks are the Mbale Bugisu Coffee Factory and the Budadiri Coffee Factory -names of the mills where the coffee are prepared. Good Ugandan coffees are both unique among East African coffees and of intense character. Germany has been a strong buyer of Ugandas arabica crop but two years ago the outrageous Java prices resulted in numerous containers appearing in the US as a Java substitute.
Coffees from politically unstable regions, especially East Africa and the 10-year civil war in Uganda, bring up ethical issues. But the plain fact is this: coffee is a cash crop. It is grown by 300,000 small-holder farmers in Uganda. It is 95% of the Ugandan exports and 2,800,000 people rely on it for a living! Most production is Robusta, and the prices they get are low. Arabica farming is more work, but the rewards are greater! Quality in coffee is a way to break pay farmers better. Here you have the opportunity to buy the best of Ugandan coffee...
I took my first trip to Uganda in late 2009. It is an amazing place - check out the travelogue section of our Coffee Library for the photos.
Our Unroasted Ugandan Coffee Offerings:Please refer to our Reference Page for definitions of terms and cupping numbers used below.Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about home roasting this and other coffees.
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
I was just in Uganda for the first time several months ago, and we are part of a project there for direct trade coffee that, I hope, will begin to realize the true potential of Uganda coffee ...but this coffee is NOT that lot! (It will come in 3 months or so). This is a really nice Organic lot we happened across, and it reminded me of last year's nice Uganda offering we had. In fact, I passed the warehouse and mill this coffee comes from while in Mbale town, which is an ideal place to store coffee. An overview: Mount Elgon lies in the Eastern reaches of the country, straddling the Uganda/Kenya border, within the district of Bugisu peoples. Judging by its enormous base it is thought that Mt Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa. The coffee shambas (smallholder farms) extend up and down the cliff faces, making use of natural water gullies and forest cover to extract moisture from the soil. The Sipi Falls is one of the great natural features of the Elgon region, a landmark of where this coffee originates, with smallholder farms between 1,400 and 1,900 meters. It is a steep and difficult terrain to traverse in the rainy seasons; often there are no roads, only dirt tracks that are washed away by the rains. But the Bagisu tribesmen (who inhabit Bugisu district, a sub-group of the Bamasaaba) have become expert coffee farmers. Quality is an issue with Uganda coffees, but new CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) programs are in the area, and there is much to hope for, as well as our lot coming later this year (which will be quite a bit more expensive, FYI). The dry fragrance in lighter roasts has a clean lemon cookie scent, softly fruited and nicely sweet. Darker roasts have a chocolate biscuit quality in the dry grounds and Italian plum-like dark fruit in the wet aroma. I don't think we have ever had a Uganda that was so versatile, working well at City roast, as well as the FC to FC+ (or darker) anticipated from this origin. The City/C+ roast has a graham cracker sweetness, honey, and lemon (but not acidic lemon). There's definitely a wild note in there, something a little woodsy and rustic lurking in the background. But it is sweeter than any coffee from this origin I can recall. Darker roasts turn to a pungent bittersweet quality, but retain some lemon in the finish, and at FC roast, or just a tad darker, we were pulling some great SO espresso shots! There are a few defect beans here, an occasional quaker and a few with insect damage (that occurs on the tree, pre-processing ... no bugs here!) Pick those out after roasting.
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We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our Uganda Coffee Archives.
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