Most coffee grown in Uganda (80%) is of the varietal Robusta (Coffea canephora var. robusta), with the other 20% comprising Arabica varietals Typica, SL 14, SL 28 and Kent. Also grown in Uganda is the Arabica cultivar Bugishu / Bugisu (Coffea arabica var. bugishu), which is grown near Sipi Falls on the western slopes of Mt. Elgon, one of Uganda’s largest mountains.
Generally, the coffee growing regions are divided into:
- West Nile (Okoro – bordering on Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan in the North West)
- Northern Region (Lira, Gulu)
- Eastern (Mbale, Bugisu – bordering on Kenya)
- Central & Southwest (Jinja, Mukono, Kampala, Masaka – by Lake Victoria)
- Western Region (Kasese, Mbarara – also bordering Democratic Republic of Congo)
The western regions produce much of the coffees Arabicas, which grow well in the higher elevations including Mount Rwenzori (which actually gets snow at its peaks). These are naturally processed (“drugars”).
A good brewed cup of Bugisu (or “Bugishu”) coffee exhibits cupping notes similar to the desirably winey acidity of a fine East African coffee, with sweet chocolate flavor and rich texture. Generally speaking, the lower complexity and lighter lighter body of Ugandan coffees makes them generally less distinguished than the finer coffees of neighboring Zimbabwe, Tanzania, or Kenya.
The Robustas from the Lake Victoria basin are well suited to the clay-rich soils, and benefit from some high elevations in the region. They’re able to develop higher acidity than lower-altitude grown Robustas, making them a decent cup.
This Coffea arabica coffee plant varietal (Coffea arabica var. bugishu) is grown in northeast Uganda near Sipi Falls. Bugishu coffee is distinguished by its clean flavor and distinctive aroma. Some of the best Bugishu (or Bugisu) grows on Uganda’s Mt. Elgon.
A good brewed cup of Bugishu coffee exhibits the desirably winey acidity of a fine East African coffee. However, the lower complexity and lighter body of Uganda Coffee makes it generally less distinguished than the finer coffees of Zimbabwe, Tanzania, or Kenya.