The Rwenzoris are famously known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. They stretch for 120 km along the Western Ugandan border with the D.R. Congo. The snow capped peaks reach 5,109m asl with glaciers forming rivers which feed the valleys below. The area is home to the Bakonzo tribe, a proud and strong people that have farmed the foothills of the Rwenzori for generations. While Uganda produces large volumes of low-grown robusta coffee, the high altitude, fertile soils and plentiful rainfall of the Rwenzoris provides perfect growing conditions for fine Arabica coffee. Coffee offers the Bakonzo farmers a stable income that allows them to support their families and develop their homes with many farms also produce cassava, maize, beans and groundnuts for local consumption and additional income.
The Bakonzo Farmers are located in the West of Kasese District. The Bukonzo county is divided into many sub-counties including Kisinga, Kyondo, Kyarumba, Munkunyu, Mahango, Nyakatonzi and Isango. The area has many small towns situated on the lowlands, which are joined by good road networks. These towns provide ideal locations for coffee processing and are home to many farmer groups and processing facilities including Kisinga station which focusses on specialty Arabica production. Farms are, on average, 2 acres in size with families working by hand before collaborating with other groups in the community to process and market the coffee, an approach known as ‘share farming’.
The farmers harvest their coffee by hand, carefully selecting the ripe cherries. The cherries are then pre-sorted, before being floated in a tank of water. The high quality cherries sink to the bottom, while the less dense cherries float on the surface. The floaters are removed leaving only the best cherries for processing. These are then sun-dried on raised tables for the first week, after which they are transferred to tarpaulins for the remainder of the drying period. Farmers carefully turn the cherries throughout the day ensuring uniform drying. Once dried to the required moisture content, the coffee is hulled at primary processing facility in Kisinga Town. After hulling, the coffee beans undergo a final sorting, removing any black beans or defects. The coffee is then bagged and transported to Kyagalanyi’s new dry mill in Namanve on the outskirts of Kampala. Here it is prepared for export through Mombasa.
In the cup you get punched full on by blueberry and blackcurrant, mixed in with a dark chocolate bitterness and sweetness. This coffee really shows its colours in the espresso and milk drinks where it takes on more red berry notes with some blueberry pie.
- Country: Uganda
- Region: Bakonzo County, Rwenzori mountains
- Producers: Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd. - Bakonzo Farmers
- Farmers: 1,500 (approx)
- Mill: Kisinga Station
- Varietals: Nyasaland, Bugisu, SL18 & SL28
- Processing: Natural
- Altitude: 1,200m - 2,200 m.a.s.l.
- Rainfall: 1,200mm avg per annum
- Harvest: October - December
Blueberry, blackcurrant, dark chocolate.
Total: (max 100): 88