Uganda is an excellent location for coffee growing. In past decades, the armed conflict has hurt the industry – especially in the producing region of the West Nile during the ‘90s. However, the country boasts richly fertile land, with volcanic soil to the east and west, and plenty of rainfall. Certain parts of the country have two harvests: April to June and October to February.
In some places, farms sit up to 2,300 m.a.s.l., with the resulting cooler temperatures leading to more complex coffees. These farms tend to be small, often less than half a hectare in size. Intercropping provides good shade under which the coffee can grow – another element that creates cooler temperatures and generally healthier plants.
Washed processing is common, although you will find some naturally processed coffees as well. Natural processed coffees range from low-quality, defective beans to high-quality, specialty-grade ones.
Danny Bee, 2016 UAE Barista Championship Finalist, tells me that Uganda’s varied terroir creates a wide range of flavor profiles, from sun-dried tomatoes to florals. “An abundance of sunshine and rain enables Ugandan Arabica coffees to go through a slow development that leads to full-flavored beans,” he explains.
Rubens Gardelli, Q Grader, four-time Italian Roasting Champion, two-time Italian Brewers Cup Champion, one-time World Brewers Cup Championship 1st Runner-Up, and Owner of Gardelli Specialty Coffees, also appreciates Ugandan coffee. In fact, he chose to use the country’s beans in competition – and is looking to work with more Ugandan coffees in the future.