Brown sugar, mixed berry jam and dark chocolate.
Washing Station: Bugimotwa
Region: Kabeywa, Mt Elgon
Elevation: 1,700 - 2,100m
Variety: SL-14, SL-28 & Nyasaland
Sourced Through: Intersection Traders
Unique coffee, produced ethically, traded transparently.
This coffee is the result of a research project and public-private sector partnership in Uganda aimed at improving the food security of coffee growers and their families through increasing the quality of their coffee and creating access to high value export markets. Our head roaster Adam was privileged enough to be part of the project team and with two other Adelaidians he met 'on the ground' - Eddy and Daniel - (and the immeasurable support of many more) went on to co-found Intersection Traders in order to bring the amazing coffee that has resulted to Australia. In doing so he's had the opportunity to take what he has learned working in specialty coffee over the years and, working with researchers and farmers on the ground - excuse the pun - 'practise what we preach'.
The coffee was grown on the slopes of Mt Elgon - a dormant volcano located in Kapchorwa in the east of Uganda. Literally translated from the local dialect as ‘Home of Friends’, Kapchorwa has a long history of arabica coffee production and is linked directly to coffee producers in Kenya - located on a smaller portion of the very same Mt Elgon and producing some of the highest quality coffee on the market. With strong diurnal temperature variation and two rainy seasons the region possesses optimal conditions for slow coffee development and an amazing environment of waterfalls and lush vegetation. Despite this ability to grow incredibly high quality coffee, exports of Ugandan coffee have previously only been to the commodity market - due mostly to a lack of access to specialty markets, knowledge or pre-financing and a decentralised post-harvest supply chain. All of which we are working to overcome.
Intersection Traders approached the development of a new specialty coffee program in Uganda with an explicit focus on ensuring that everybody engaged in the value chain would receive substantial improvements in income. Working with researchers at universities in Australia, Uganda and the Netherlands, they’ve trialled and implemented a novel contracting approach that allows coffee pickers and growers to be involved in a transparent and higher-paying harvesting program based around picking quality. From the outset they have explicitly sought to work primarily with youth and women in order to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged groups; furthermore in 2019, working with the local growers’ society they developed the community owned Bugimotwa washing station - giving producers access to the infrastructure and scale required to substantially increase volumes, with an aim to establish more stations in future years along with training in agronomy.
After passing their quality assessment stage (which occurs within eight hours of cherries being picked) the coffee is floated and then left to rest (still 'in cherry') for 36-42 hours in sealed drums, after which it is dried on raised beds. The coffee is dried slowly with meticulous stirring for four to six weeks until it reaches 10.5% moisture, after which it is stored in GrainPro until dry milling.