Shade Grown on an Extinct Volcano Mt. Elgon, an enormous extinct volcano straddling the border with Kenya, produces some of the most sought-after Arabica in Uganda. Populated by the Bagisu tribe, this region is also known as Bugisu. Its high altitudes (coffee is grown up to 2,200 meters ASL), plentiful rainfall, partly volcanic soils and shade from banana and other trees provide excellent growing conditions for Arabica. The coffee is balanced and smooth, has a medium acidity and good body, and features chocolate flavors and citric, floral notes. Download Fact Sheet
One of the local delicacies in Mt. Elgon is called maleya or kamaleya—bamboo shoots. Harvested just once a year, the shoots are smoked to preserve them, then sliced, boiled, and served in a groundnut sauce.
Many Rains, Multiple Flowerings Mt. Elgon is an extinct shield volcano that once stood higher than Mt. Kilimanjaro stands today. The region's steep slopes enjoy plentiful rainfall, which ranges from 1,600 to over 2,100 mm per year. Average temperatures hover between 19 and 20 degrees Celsius, and coffee flowers several times a year. Consequently, the harvesting season runs from June/July to December at lower altitudes and from July to February at higher altitudes.
Shaded by Banana and Tulip Trees About 4,000 households produce coffee in Mt. Elgon. An average household has about 1.5 acres of coffee or 1,000 coffee trees, which are grown under shade from banana, Cordia Africana, Tulip trees and other trees. For most families, coffee is the most lucrative of several livelihood strategies. Productivity is low (less than 2 kg per tree), but with our partnership, many households have started to improve coffee yields.
Dryers Powered by Coffee Husks We operate six medium-sized washing stations on Mount Elgon. The cherries are pulped with eco-pulpers and then sun dried on drying racks and in greenhouses. The last stage of drying is done using rotary dryers, which are operated on coffee husks.

We also purchase parchment from farmer groups. This coffee is home processed, using hand pulpers, fermentation and sun drying. All Mt. Elgon parchment is pre-cleaned in Mbale and then sent to our Namanve dry mill for final processing and export.

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Relationships Build Communities
Most of our field staff are part of the farming community that we work with. This helps us to build strong relations with farmers and understand what their needs are. Women and children have our special attention. With the partnership of Charico, we have supported four primary schools and nine health centers on Mt. Elgon. A lot of the medical equipment we donated (worth over $350,000) went to the maternity wards of the hospitals to celebrate the important role women play in coffee production.
Personalized Training for Farmers
Our local Farmer Support Organization (FSO) was started in 2007 and currently has almost 7,000 member farms. Over the years, we've built a full Coffee Services program to help farmers improve coffee production. Every year, each household receives one to two individual training sessions on their own farms. In addition, we run group trainings in our 261 demonstration fields. Topics include best management practices, farming as a business, climate change and relevant sustainability themes. In 2015, our FSO team carried out over 8,000 household training sessions and almost 10,000 farmers attended group training sessions.
Mt. Elgon, Gibuzale Coffee HARVESTING SEPT 2016-JAN 2017 A well-balanced cup, with a rich body and bold dark chocolate and red fruit flavors.
  • Flavor
  • Body All to be determined at harvest
  • Acidity
  • 1 - Fragrance/Aroma
  • 2 - Flavor
  • 3 - Acidity
  • 4 - Balance
  • 5 - Body
  • 6 - Aftertaste
  • 7 - Overall
  • Cupping Score: 84+
  • Quality: To be determined at harvest
  • Producer: Carefully selected farms from the Mt. Elgon community
  • Variety: The mountain is home to a range of varieties. Nyasaland and Bugisu were introduced in the 1920’s and roughly 30% of the fields are still planted with these varieties. SL 14, SL 28, SL 34, KP 423 and Ruiru 11 have been introduced more recently
  • Processing: Washed and sun dried; final drying with husk-fueled rotary driers
  • Altitude: 1,650 to 2,200 meters ASL
  • Harvest: September to January
  • Packing: 65lb box  What’s this?
Mt. Elgon, Kapchorwa Coffee HARVESTING SEPT 2016-JAN 2017 A well-balanced cup, with a rich body and bold dark chocolate and red fruit flavors.
  • Flavor
  • Body All to be determined at harvest
  • Acidity
  • 1 - Fragrance/Aroma
  • 2 - Flavor
  • 3 - Acidity
  • 4 - Balance
  • 5 - Body
  • 6 - Aftertaste
  • 7 - Overall
  • Cupping Score: 84+
  • Quality: To be determined at harvest
  • Producer: Carefully selected farms from the Mt. Elgon community
  • Variety: The mountain is home to a range of varieties. Nyasaland and Bugisu were introduced in the 1920’s and roughly 30% of the fields are still planted with these varieties. SL 14, SL 28, SL 34, KP 423 and Ruiru 11 have been introduced more recently
  • Processing: Washed and sun dried; final drying with husk-fueled rotary driers
  • Altitude: 1,650 to 2,200 meters ASL
  • Harvest: September to January
  • Packing: 65lb box  What’s this?
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