Uganda
Coffee Region



Ugandas primary trade

Coffee makes up 95% of Uganda’s yearly national exports, providing a livelihood for an estimated 20% of the population. Uganda is one of the world’s largest Robusta producers but in recent year has revolutionised is specialty offering with a boom in arabica coffee growing in the Rwenzori and Mount Elgon Regions. Robusta is indigenous to Uganda, and the country is home to one of the world’s oldest varieties of wild growing coffee plants, found in the country’s rainforests.

In Uganda, smallholders intercrop their coffee trees with traditional food crops, usually utilizing shade trees such as bananas. In these self-sustaining conditions, coffee is left to grow naturally, flowering on average twice a year.

Uganda also produces wet-processed Arabica, with virtually all grown by villagers on small plots. Coffees marketed as ‘Wugar’ (Washed Uganda Arabica) or ‘Drugar’ (Dry Uganda Arabica) are grown on mountains bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, along Uganda’s western border. The more demanded Bugisu is from the western slopes of Mount Elgon, and is another typically winy, fruit-toned African coffee, with elements in the flavour profile akin to a classic Kenyan coffee.

 



Growing Regions

Mount Elgon lies in the eastern reaches of the country, straddling the border with Kenya. Judging by its enormous base, it is thought that Mount Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa. The coffee shambas 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 are one of the great natural features of the Elgon region where some of our coffee originates, with smallholder farms based between 1,600 and 1,900 metres. It is a steep and difficult terrain to traverse in the rainy seasons – often there are no roads, only dirt tracks that get washed away by the rains.

To the West of Uganda Lies the Rwenzori Mountains which also straddle its neighbours boarder of the Democratic Republic Of Congo. The Mountains of Rwenzori sometimes referred to as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’, span 120km along the Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The high altitude, fertile soil, and tropical weather conditions make it ideal for growing Arabica beans. Rwenzori is a historically natural process area, with 95% of the coffee being processed this way at washing stations.

 


Uganda In Numbers

Population

38,000,000


Altitudes

1,200 - 2,300 MASL

Farmers

1,700,000


Varietals

SL28, Typica, Kent

Farm Size

0.18 Hectares


Processes

Natural, Washed

Rainfall

1,000 mm


Yearly Yield

4.75m 60KG Bags

Native Varietals


SL28

This varietal was created in the 1930s by Scott Laboratories as botanists searched for different mutations of Bourbon and Typica. It has copper coloured leaves and its beans are broad. It is native to Kenya and is relatively low yielding, however the cup qualities are highly sought after. Characteristics can include intense lemon acidity, great sweetness, balance and complexity.

Typica

This was the first varietal of the Arabica species ever discovered in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. The leaves are thin and cooper coloured with elongated oval-shaped beans. There is outstanding sweetness, complexity and cleanliness.

Kent

In the 1920s, the earliest variety of Arabica grown in India was named Kent, after the Englishman L.P. Kent, a planter of the Doddengudda Estate in Mysore. Kent is the most commonly planted Arabica in India and Southeast Asia, known for its balanced cup and subtle flavour notes of mocca.


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