Origin: Uganda, Africa
Region: Mount Elgon
Importer: Mountain Harvest Coffee Co.
Processing Manager: Ibrahim Kiganda
Farms: Several small producers
Variety: SL-28, SL-14, Nyasaland
Elevation: 1,250 - 2,200 MASL
Roast Profile: Light
Tasting Notes: Earthy, sweet grass aroma with umami notes and soft, strawberry sweetness & acidity. It produces a medium body cup & linger that is very unlike a typical light roast.
You may recognize Uganda Mbale from being part of our 2023 Summer Blend. This coffee stood out so much for us that we just had to feature it as a single-origin. Don't shy away from this light roast - because it's not your typical light roast. It has a wonderful, medium body and linger and is not highly citric or acidic. It's an approachable cup for those who enjoy classic floral and brown sugar notes in their coffee.
It's grown by farmers located on Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya, at some of the highest elevations for coffee anywhere in the world. They have 640 registered farmers, 168 being female. Through Mountain Harvest, these farmers have a stable buyer who pays 10-30% above local market prices. With these fair & consistent prices, the framers are better able to provide for their families, invest in their crops and land and help to drive the local economy to benefit the entire community. Mountain Harvest is also helping to diversify their incomes by introducing new inputs like organic fertilizers and additional crops like Hass avocados, macadamia nuts and honey - all of which provide shade for the coffee trees and pollination for the crops.
Mbale Station is the main hub of innovation and processing for Mountain Harvest. Coffee makes its way to the pulping facility, Sironko Station, and then is centrally dried at Mbale Station. This Uganda is a washed lot from Mbale Station that is sourced from the Yilwanako, Buginyanya, Bushiyi, Makali, Bukalasi and Sipi communities of Mount Elgon. The coffee was purchased as cherry from the farmers, transported to the central pulping station in sealed drums whereby it is fermented for 40 total hours in fruit, pulped and put on raised beds to dry to an 11% moisture content. It is carefully processed by the Mbale processing manager Ibrahim Kiganda and his intern Ruth Chebet. In his first season, Ibrahim has collected two Best of Pearl trophies for coffees processed at Mbale Station. Ibrahaim also recently won the 2023 African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) barista championship and is going to be representing Uganda in the World Barista Championships in Greece.
We'd like to thank the Mountain Harvest team for providing all the information and images of their supply chain. We give special photo credit to Jjumba Martin and Jake Lyell for the wonderful images of Mount Elgon, the processing at Sironko & Mbale Stations and Mountain Harvest's Coffee Warehouse.