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Once called the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill, Uganda boasts one of the most diverse fauna in Africa. Home to endangered gorillas and chimpanzees which attract much needed foreign earnings from eco-tourism. Agriculture is the predominant economic contributor with subsistence farming employing most people, thanks to its abundance of fertile soils and equatorial climate. English is widely spoken, with fractional Swahili and Lugandan. Not shy of controversy the current president has held the position since 1996. Divisive on many political issues having fought his way to the top through a 6 year guerrilla war.
Uganda produces a little under 4 million bags of coffee each year – predominantly natural robusta. This allows it to be Africa’s second largest producer, after Ethiopia, but given it’s lack of internal consumption – Uganda occupies the #1 spot for exports. A range of coffees are produced throughout the country from Unwashed natural robusta – commonly used in the Instant and low grade markets, to some exceptional high grown washed Arabica’s – produced in the Mt Elgon region to the East on the Kenya border. Mbale has risen in the past decade to become a renowned producer of washed coffees, rivalling its more famous neighbour; Kenya. Expect to find moderate levels of citric acidity, clean cupping and juicy fruit flavours, interspersed with punchy rich chocolate from these small holder ‘Shambas’ as they’re known. Washed small holder Ugandan coffee may not yet be on the radar of many specialty roaster, but it is only a matter of time before these coffees make a name for themselves.