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 years has revolutionised its 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 utilising 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, 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.