Uganda Kapkwai Crown Jewel ***


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  • Description
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Intro

Flag of UgandaOur Uganda Kapkwai Crown Jewel coffee comes to us by way of smallholder organic producers growing coffee on the northern slopes of Mount Elgon, a massive peak split nearly in two by the border of Uganda and Kenya. It was picked little later in the season than in years past, but with all its characteristic verve and charm that includes a softer, gentler profile with loads of ripe fruit sweetness and stone fruit flavors taking center stage. Nectarine and apricot are the stars of the show, with supporting notes like coconut, banana, raspberry, and grape filling in the chorus.

This particular micro-lot of Uganda is one of just a small handful of organic coffees produced by the Sipi Falls Mill station. Coffees like this, where the fruit is untouched and allowed to sun-dry (called “drugar” in Uganda) retain high amounts of fruit flavor from the increased contact time with the cherry. This lot of Uganda was floated in water to sort for density and damaged beans prior to drying. The raised beds provide even airflow and the mill turn the coffee frequently to ensure uniform drying for optimal quality and shelf life.

Uganda Cultural Celebrations

Uganda is currently Africa’s leading exporter of coffee by volume (Ethiopia produces more, but exports less), and is among the only African nations with consistent annual production volume increases.

Origin Information

Grower - Smallholder farmers organized around the Sipi Falls washing station
Variety - Blue Mountain Typica, Bourbon, Bugisu, SL14, SL28
Region - Kapkwai, Kapchorwa District, Eastern Region, Uganda
Harvest - September 2018 thru February 2019
Altitude - 1300 to 2000 m (4265 to 6562 ft)
Soil - Volcanic loam
Process - "Natural" dried in the fruit on raised beds in the sun
Certifications - Organic

Taste Profile

Sweetness - Chocolate, Melon, Honey
Acidity - Citric, Malic
Viscosity - Syrupy, Juicy
Cleanliness - Sparkling, Floral, Nutty

 

Roast

We roasted the Uganda to a nice medium to just past medium roast which is typical for coffees from this region. With proper brewing, this Uganda Crown Jewel will produce notes of Plum, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Cardamom, Cane Sugar, Dark Chocolate to notes of Pink Starburst, Peach, Fig, Strawberry, Mint, Nougat, Vanilla, Milk Chocolate.

Brewing

As with most Top-Shelf coffees, we suggest using the pour-over method to maximized the aroma and flavor of this Crown Jewel coffee using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio with the water between 200F and 205F. Once grounds are placed in the filter, pre-soak grounds by covering with water for ~30sec to allow for blooming, then finish with either a steady pour or a couple of short pours to complete the brewing process.

Brew Observations

Brew Observation by Royal Coffee
This coffee repeatedly stood out on the cupping table, so I was counting down the days until it would be time to brew it on the bar! For the sake of having easy reference points, I brewed this coffee on two of our stand-by flat-bottom brewers, the Kalita Wave and the Fellow Stagg X. Being a natural, I was hoping for lots of bright, fruity, juicy notes, so I used 205 degree water, just slightly on the hotter side of things.

The Kalita brew delivered about what I was expecting, which is to say amazing coffee. Up front I tasted that bright strawberry note that has become the calling card of many natural coffees from Africa. Notes of crisp melon, citrus, honey, and dark chocolate all followed, and the coffee had a nice crisp finish. Super delicious.

The Stagg brew took things to a whole new level! It was like an intensified version of the first brew, but without risking clarity and balance. We tasted pink Starburst, peach, fig, cherry, raspberry, lemon, lime, mint, vanilla, nougat, and milk chocolate, and the finish went on for days! It was a real delight to taste such an outstanding coffee from a region that hasn’t been known for high quality specialty coffee in the past. If you’re looking for a standout coffee to add to your portfolio, or you’re just looking for a bright, juicy coffee to get you through the dog days of summer, you’re gonna want to grab some of this one!

Background

Uganda KapkwaiUganda Kapkwai Sipi Falls Raised Bed Natural Organic Crown Jewel is sourced from family owned farms located on the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Kapkwai region of the Kapchorwa district, Uganda. Harvested cherries are received at the Sipi Falls mill, named after a trio of majestic waterfalls in the area. Cherries are sorted then dried on raised beds under retractable roofs. The mill's capacity to ensure strict drying protocols has improved coffee quality and create sustainable incomes for farmers in the region.

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