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Uganda

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Uganda Bugisu WP Decaf

I was just in Uganda last year, and learned quite a bit about the coffee growing and milling situation there. This decaf is from the area of Mbale, but not a specific lot. It reminded me of last year's nice Uganda offering we had for a bit. 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.

This decaf cups a bit like an Indonesia coffee, and can take a bit more roast too. Anything from City to FC+ or darker worked quite well. The dry fragrance was a bit odd when I first evaluated it, not very sweet, with a chocolate biscuit quality in the dry grounds and plum-like dark fruit in the wet aroma. It's a fairly burly and substantial aroma character. Lighter roasts had a mild milk chocolate note, and the dense body really jumped out at me. Chocolate notes dominate at FC+ roast, which was actually my favorite here. With hints of dark fruit in the background and a definite rustic hint to the cup, the aftertaste has a very nice, intense bittersweet chocolate character. While not very sweet initially, it improves as it cools. It's a hefty, weighty coffee on the palate, something I don't find often in decafs from Africa. As I mentioned, it belongs more to an Indonesia taste family than other African coffees. This decaf works well for espresso too.





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Farmers in Bududa area near Mbale, from a trip a few years back.
Country: Uganda
Grade: A grade
Region: Mt. Elgon region, Mbale
Processing: Wet-Process, then decaf'ed
Arrival Date: June 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 screen
Varietal: Mixed
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Works at light or dark roasts, rustic hint, chocolate, good body
Roast: I had good roasts in a wide range, from lighter City+ through Full City and Full City+, or a bit into Vienna roast levels. FC to FC+ is great for espresso.
Compare to: A unique East African decaf coffee, husky yet clean, and interesting as espresso.
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Uganda Organic Bugisu WP Decaf

I was just in Uganda for the first time late last year, and learned quite a bit about the coffee growing and milling situation there. This decaf is from the same lot we offer as a non-decaf coffee, a nice Organic lot we happened across. 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. This decaf cups a bit like an Indonesia coffee, and can take a bit more roast too. Anything from City to FC+ or darker worked quite well. The dry fragrance has a chocolate biscuit quality in the dry grounds and plum-like dark fruit in the wet aroma. It's sweet and has a fairly burly and substantial aroma character. Lighter roasts had a mild milk chocolate note, and the dense body really jumped out at me. Chocolate notes dominate at FC+ roast, which was actually my favorite here. With hints of dark fruit in the background and a definite rustic hint to the cup, the aftertaste has a very nice, intense bittersweet chocolate character. It's a hefty, weighty coffee on the palate, something I don't find often in decafs from Africa. As I mentioned, it belongs more to an Indonesia taste family than other African coffees. This decaf works well for espresso!





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Farmers in Bududa area near Mbale, from my last trip.
Country: Uganda
Grade: A
Region: Mt. Elgon region, Mbale
Processing: Wet-Process, then decaf'ed
Arrival Date: May 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-18 screen
Varietal: Mixed
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Works at light or dark roasts, rustic hint, chocolate, good body
Roast: I had very good roasts in a huge range, from lighter City+ through Full City and Full City+, or a bit into Vienna roast levels. FC to FC+ is great for espresso.
Compare to: A unique East African coffee, husky yet clean, and interesting as espresso.
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Uganda Organic Mbale Bugisu

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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Say Cheese! By far the most ridiculous picture from the Uganda trip, at upper Sipi Falls.
Country: Uganda
Grade: A
Region: Mt. Elgon region, Mbale
Processing: Wet-Processed
Arrival Date: Late Feb 2010 Arrival
Appearance: 1.8 d/300gr, 16-18 screen
Varietal: Mixed
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Works at light or dark roasts, sweet with rustic hint, good body
Roast: I had very good roasts in a huge range, from lighter City through Full City and Full City+, or a bit into Vienna roast levels. FC to FC+ is great for espresso.
Compare to: A unique East African coffee, husky yet clean, and interesting as espresso.
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Uganda Organic Bugisu

Mount Elgon lies in the Eastern reaches of the country, straddling the Uganda/Kenya border, within the district of Bugisu. 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 where this coffee originates, with smallholder farms between 1,600 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 and have developed their own transportation methods to go where no cars can: Donkeys. It has been a while since we have offered Uganda coffees, but with new programs in place by CQI (Coffee Quality Institute), it seems that small lots from specific zones and specific farmer groups may be possible in the near future. This is not one of them. It is a large pooled lot of Organic coffee, and the preparation is not perfect, but we found some very agreeable cup characteristics here. 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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Coffee pickers in Uganda.
Country: Uganda
Grade: AA
Region: Mt. Elgon region, Mbale
Processing: Wet-Processed
Arrival Date: March 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 1.8 d/300gr, 16-18 screen
Varietal: not known
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Works at light or dark roasts, sweet with rustic hint, good body
Roast: I had very good roasts in a huge range, from lighter City through Full City and Full City+, or a bit into Vienna roast levels. FC to FC+ is great for espresso.
Compare to: A unique East African coffee, husky yet clean, and interesting as espresso.
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