Farmers in Bududa area near Mbale, from a trip a few years back.
Appearance.4 d/300gr, 16-18 screen
RegionMt. Elgon region, Mbale
RoastI 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.
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.