Maliba Natural 250g
For many, Uganda might not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking of high-quality Arabica: the country has been traditionally known as a producer of Robusta. However, in many regions of the country, the challenges are more a matter of infrastructure, history and knowledge than the environment. One such area is the Kasese district in the Southwest of the country, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Arabica coffee is grown at 1,650 to 1,800 meters above sea level. The region’s ideal natural conditions have the potential to produce stellar speciality coffees and transform the lives of farmers across the region.
During the harvest season, all coffee is selectively hand-picked and delivered by individual farmers to one of Kawacom’s 9 collection points. Kawacom encourages farmers to deliver coffee still in its cherry, instead of hand pulping it themselves on their farms. This has given the project increased control over processing activities, which can be challenging in the region as rains during the harvest season are common.
Since 2015, the mill has also been able to produce very limited quantities of specialty natural coffee; such is the case for this lot. The delivered coffee cherry is first floated in cool clean water to remove any floaters. Next, the cherry is taken to raised beds to dry. Here, the cherry is continuously sorted, removing any under ripes, over ripes or unwanted cherry. As well as sorting, the drying cherry is continuously turned to ensure uniformity, with coffee cherry heaped at peak sunshine and covered to avoid cell damage. As well as uniformity, this process helps to slow down the fermentation process, avoiding an overly winey tasting coffee profile, as well as increasing the quality and shelf life of the beans. This time-consuming process will continue for around 17- 21 days, depending on the levels of rainfall, until the moisture content reaches below 11%.
Once the coffee cherry has dried, the stock is loaded into trucks and delivered to the dry mill in Kampala, some 390km away, for final milling. After milling, coffee will be prepped, ready for export.
Mill: Kawacom Uganda Ltd
Altitude: 1,650 to 1,800m