Only one stretch of land produces Arabica in the Ugandan region called the Rwenzori Range. This area primarily produces Drugar, or “Dried Ugandan Arabica,” a commodity coffee. In late 2014, Crop to Cup began working with Kika Cooperative here to produce a premium Drugar. Under the leadership of a premium group of farmers within their cooperative, Kika Cooperative built raised drying beds and brought bins to float berries. The 2015 Harvest will reflect the improvements in quality from the work Kika Cooperative puts into their coffee. In early 2015, Crop to Cup also started working with Bukonzo Organics, a group of women who produce specialty washed Arabica coffee in the Rwenzori Range. They have built a network of 12 micro-washing stations and take immense pride in their work, especially their washing process, which sets them apart from their neighbors.
Importing the Improbable
The Rwenzori Range, known as the Mountains of the Moon, is the next frontier for specialty coffee in East Africa. While the geography is perfect, this is an unlikely place to find specialty coffee. The Rwenzori Mountains are a result of the same tectonics that produced the Great Rift Valley; they are relatively young, jagged mountains. Further to the south, these same slopes grow Rwandan coffee, made famous beginning a decade after the Rwandan civil war. The western edge of the Rwenzoris come down into Congo’s Kivu region, which is only now earning its place on the specialty coffee map. There is only one island of Arabica that exists in Uganda’s portion of the Rwenzori range – you can find it stretching between and around the towns of Ft. Portal and Kasese.