For several years, I have had the opportunity to roast some of Uganda’s finest Arabica coffee’s. Each time these coffees impress me more and more. They have such wonderful balance and often carry bold chocolate notes. Something which I always look for in my coffees.
So I thought I would explore and share some of my findings with you about these quality coffees. This will be a 2-part blog starting with the a country-wide review. In the next blog we’ll drill down to some of the regions and work being done by some of the more ethical players working with Ugandan coffee growers.
Let’s do some numbers first to give some idea of the scale, growth and diversity to Uganda’s coffee.
For the 1991/92 Season, Uganda exported 2,053 million 60 kg bags of which 92% (1,884 million bags) was Robusta and just 8% (or 169,000 bags) were Arabica’s. The total value of the crop was US$ 104,5 million (av Robusta price USD 0.81/kg and Arabica’s price USD 1.26/kg). Total world coffee production for 1991/92 was 101 million bags.
In the 90’s there was significant growth in Arabica coffees in Uganda. From their base of 169,000 bags in 1991/92 they grew their Arabica coffee crop to 533,000 bags by 1993/94. That’s a 215% growth over a 2 year period. During the same period, their Robusta grew by 31%. I’ll drill down on why this was this case in my next blog where I will chat with one of the good folk from UCDA (Uganda Coffee Development Association).
The last 3 growing seasons show a similar pattern with Uganda’s Arabica crop producing around 21-25% of the total export by volume and 25-30% on value.
|EXPORTS (60kg) bags||2014/15||2015/16||2016/17|
|(a) Total Volume||3,455,852||3,315,567||4,605,158|
|Total volume (world)||148,559,000||153,561,000||159,047,000|
|(b) Total Value (US$million)||410.55||326.68||544.59|
|Unit Value in US $ /Kilo||1.98||1.64||1.97|
Total volume of bags sold by Uganda in the 2017/18 was 4,962,000 (world total volume 158,560,000 bags).
Enough of the numbers. Let’s get behind those numbers and meet some of the main players in the Uganda Coffee Industry. Let’s visit the places where they work, where they live, how they process their coffee (pre and post harvest) and the challenges they face. May have to visit those gorillas in the mist too…
Keep a look out for the follow-up posts on this great coffee coming from a great country with great, great people..
The Bean Whisperer..