At lighter roasts, surprisingly sweet cup with lemon wafer aroma, graham cracker sweetness, honey. At FC-FC+ roasts, pungent and bittersweet, but with attractive body and mild lemon finish. Great as SO espresso. City to Full City+ roast levels.
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.