July 9, 2021

Beans from Uganda

Coffee Countries
Uganda farmer illustration


Uganda's coffee production has been increasing, and now it earns more as a top-earning export crop than any other. In 1989 Uganda surpassed its quota of 2.3 million bags in record time but exports were still diminished by economic and security problems which led to large amounts being smuggled out for sale in neighbouring countries where the prices are higher due to demand from Asia.

Robusta coffee is a type of Arabica that grows in the Uganda Kampala forest area and Lake Victoria Crescent. It was commercially marketed from 1999 to 2002 as premium consumer brand, emulating shade grown Central American success but interestingly wild Robusta trees can be found due their suitability for climate change adaptation despite being natively found there.

The bean

Besides Arabica, which is the coffee most people are familiar with in NorthAmerica and Europe, there's an 80% grown type of Robusta that comes fromUganda. This "Bugishu" variety has a unique flavor profile. Arabica coffee beans are harvested in October through February, while Robusta is harvested all year.After harvesting, the Arabica coffees can be washed or processed naturally and then dried out on patios for up to 20 days before being exported.

5 growing regions

  • West Nile (Okoro - bordering on Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan in theNorth West)
  • Eastern (Mbale, Bugisu - bordering on Kenya)
  • Northern Region (Lira, Gulu)
  • Central & Southwest (Jinja, Mukono, Kampala, Masaka - by Lake Victoria)
  • Western Region (Kasese, Mbarara - also bordering Democratic Republic of Congo)

The western regions of the country produce many Arabicas, which do well in higher elevations. Some places such as Mount Rwenzori get snow at its peaks and these coffees are naturally processed to bring out their natural flavours

Tasting notes

A good cup of Bugisu coffee exhibits a fine winey acidity with sweet chocolate flavour and rich texture.Ugandan coffees are generally less distinguished than the finer East African beans, but they still offer great taste at an affordable price! The Robusta coffee beans from the Lake Victoria basin are grown in clay-rich soil and can withstand high elevations. They're able to develop a higher acidity than other coffees, making them an excellent cup of Joe!