New origin: UGANDA

Not the easiest of tasks to find coffee from an origin we never bought or roasted before. But we pulled it off and are glad to present you a first ever Caffenation Ugandan coffee, called BULAMBULI. 

More info on our find later in the blog post, but first more information regarding this coffee origin: 

Unlike other East African origins where it is easy to visit, cup, and select from existing stock lots of specialty coffees, Uganda doesn’t have a selection of good quality coffee just sitting around. 

Home processed coffees dominate the coffee sector, accounting for 85-90% of Ugandan production. Farmers dry their own cherries, often on plastic or tarp. If the coffee is washed, they use a small and simple hand pulper. The inconsistent and low quality of these coffees means they are mostly sold for unsustainably low prices. 

We know the quality of Ugandan coffee can be amazing if it’s processed well. These coffees deserve a place in the specialty industry and Ugandan producers should have access to specialty premiums. 

There are very few washing stations in Uganda in general. The big multinationals are investing in washing stations but most farmers prefer to home-process their coffee. Exporters and locals also hesitate to invest in washing stations as there is a lot of theft and mistrust in the industry. Very often they have to move parchment into the storage at night to avoid it being stolen. In many cases the producers pulp, ferment and pre-dry the coffee at the washing station, then move the wet parchment down to towns like Mbale to finish the drying mechanically or on black plastic in guarded commercial drying plots.

Background info

Total production 4,2 million bags, 250,000 metric tonnes.

There are about 1,7 million households producing coffees. The average farm size is 0,18 hectares. Arabica is grown from 1000 – 2300 masl. 

For comparison, Rwanda produces about 20,000 metric tonnes, and has about 400,000 households producing coffee.

Around 40% of Uganda’s coffee production is Arabica, and that amounts to a lot of coffee. About 70% of this is processed as a natural. There is generally a biannual production cycle where they have a larger crop every second year.

Uganda is geographically divided into the main regions, North West, West, South West, East for Arabica production, and Central region only for Robusta.

The West and South West are the biggest regions for Arabica production. North West is smaller, but figures may not be accurate as many Congolese coffees are “smuggled” over the border and sold as Ugandan.

Uganda has been on our horizon for a while, but we never managed to find the right bean at the right moment. Until last March when Jeff and Mathias cupped a couple of Ugandan pre shipment samples at a cupping fest in Oslo, organized by the coffee experts of Nordic Approach. Here we noticed that their hard work at origin, for many years, had finally paid off. 

We can taste wise best describe this coffee as a Kenya-like cup, with some spices you would more easily encounter in Indonesian coffees. With even a little bit of pleasant bitterness in the after taste that reminds us of a good tonic.

Yes it's special, but very accessible to everyones liking. 

Uganda Mt. Elgon BULAMBULI

Cupping notes:

  • Bright citrus and lemongrass notes
  • Apple Walnut (pie)
  • White florals and pine like herbals 

Producer: Ben Mukhone

Region: Mt. Elgon (nearby Kenya)

Variety: SL-14, SL-28, SL-34

Lot: Zinule #5

Price paid to producer: UGX 2300 / kg cherry

FOB: USD 8.47 / kg

Importer: Nordic Approach

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