The Cup That Counts - Uganda Series - Part Four



In October, 2016 Zukuka Bora began its first harvest season. Commonfolk was privileged to send a team over to assist in processing and quality control. The quality parameters Zukuka Bora placed on the coffee cherries they would purchase were significantly higher than any other processing mill, and the team was unsure about how the farmers would react, even after the training they had received. The first week of the harvest saw a small amount of coffee delivered with mixed results. Some farmers had struggled to grasp how serious the quality control would be, and a number of pickers had to resort or even take back deliveries with with under and over ripe cherries. However, there were many that got it first time and word soon spread about what was expected, and also the higher price farmers were being paid. 

By the second week of harvest there were lines of pickers all the way down the mountain hoping to sell their A-grade cherries to Zukuka Bora. 

In one day alone, over 5 tonnes of coffee cherries were processed, with production going late into the night (with no electricity). By the end of the harvest over 20 tonnes of coffee cherries were processed and dried, resulting in just under 4 tonnes of green coffee ready for export. 

During the harvest, Zukuka Bora had the opportunity to experiment with different processing methods never before used in Uganda. A small lot of extremely high quality SL28 from the Sipi Fall region of Mt Elgon was honey processed and produced an incredibly sweet and complex cup. The majority of the coffee picked was fully washed and produced a unique but clean cup of coffee. The quality across the board was so high that only one bag (>60kg) of B grade coffee was produced during dry milling out of nearly 4 tonnes of green.

There was a genuine sense of excitement across the board from both the farmers and people in the Ugandan coffee industry because beans of this quality had never been produced in the area before. Commonfolk is lucky enough to have purchased the entire first harvest of Zukuka Bora Mt Elgon coffee and we're excited to receive the first shipment in the coming months. The first range of Zukuka Bora coffee will include micro lots of AA, A and Peaberry from the Wanale and Budwale regions of Mt Elgon. The anticipation for the 2017 harvest is already building with even more farmers wishing to take part. Additional wet mills and processing equipment is being funded and Zukuka Bora can broaden its reach to cover more of Mt Elgon’s coffee regions. 

The story continues here.

Thomas Terlaak