$18.25 | 12 oz bag
While Uganda is not well-known for specialty coffee, we believe that it should be. The farmers we work with are growing excellent coffee varieties on the slopes of Mt. Elgon at some of the highest elevations in Africa. With help from the Chema washing station, processing systems have been refined, thereby completing the formula for high-quality coffee. This lot is specially prepared from cherries grown on farms in the community of Kabeywa. With flavors of lemon, cherry, and nut, it is a breakthrough example of what's possible in washed Ugandan coffee.
Quality improvement is a process figuratively and, in the case of Uganda, literally. For years, the quality of Ugandan coffee was under-achieved; farmers were growing great varieties at high elevations, but poor processing held them back. Investment in washing stations and drying systems around the country has finally allowed for the quality potential of Ugandan coffee to begin to be realized.
The Kapchorwa company initially entered the coffee scene in 1996 in Mt. Elgon, Uganda, by purchasing dried parchment coffee from farmers––a sort of crude, honey process done with minimal equipment individually on farms. In 2009, the company opened a state-of-the-art washing station in Chema to centralize the processing of coffees with the hopes of improving the quality of the exported product and paying better prices to farmers for cherries. Initially, Chema focused on the washed process, which, at the time, was a relatively obscure way to process and sell coffee in Uganda, even though it is the most-popular type of coffee traded in the world.
We first purchased coffee from the Chema washing station in 2014 to use in some of our year-round products. The following year, we reached out directly to see if we could work together to improve the coffee even more. On a trip at the beginning of the harvest, we consulted on drying practices and contracted to pay premiums for community-specific lot separations, instead of regionally homogenized. The coffees we received after that trip represented a huge change in what we were used to tasting from Uganda.
Every year since that first year, the leadership at the Chema washing station has continued to expand and refine their processes. The coffees from the Kabewya are particularly impressive: the washed, natural sundried, and honey processed lots from this community represent the pinnacle of what we have tasted in quality coffees from Uganda.