This month we revisit a part of the world we first featured last year – from the slopes of Mount Elgon in Uganda. This mountain hugs the Uganda/Kenya border, and is known for producing some of Uganda’s most sort after Arabicas. Luckily, we have acquired a few bags to share with you at our KoffeeWorks.
Mount Elgon itself is an extinct volcano, with geologists estimating it as at least 24 million years old. A number of great coffee growing regions of the world are known to interlace active and extinct volcanoes, with the volcanic soil and elevations providing ideal conditions for delicious coffee. With next door neighbour Kenya producing some of the world’s most unique coffees, we were excited at the opportunity to bring coffee from this region back once again.
This coffee is cultivated by a number of small-holder farmers, with the average farm size being about 2.2 acres and home to 900-1000 coffee trees. For these farmers, coffee is the most important part of their economy, with other crops on their farms being subsistence crops or being sold at local markets.
With smaller farms, the infrastructure for processing coffee on site simply isn’t viable. Instead, farmers will take their coffee to the nearest mill, and sell it as cherry. This coffee comes from the Gibuzale Washing station – the most remote of the mills owned by Kyagalanyi, the local exporters. Each delivery is overseen by a field officer for quality control purposes, with high quality control efforts in place. Deliveries must contain at least 95% ripe cherries. There are sorting areas if the delivery isn’t at this standard, and additional quality control practices in place to further hone the quality of the coffee from here.
With Uganda more traditionally associated with the production of Robusta coffee, which grows wild in a number of the Ugandan forests, this coffee is a testament to the potential that some of the less well known producing countries have. They have the growing conditions, but perhaps not the wealth of knowledge that comes with a long history of producing coffee with an increased emphasis on quality.
For this reason, a model farm has opened in the area to act as a learning centre for the local famers. This model farm follows the crop cycle, and teachers farm owners both agricultural and business practices. This leads to higher quality coffee in the future, which is exciting for the coffee growers and Yahava koffee drinkers alike.
As with all Specialty Estate coffees, we’ll have enough for this month only. So grab your bag while you!