Behind every cup of our Uganda Bulaago coffee is a mighty force for change made possible by the Uganda Bulaago Project and coffee importer Crop to Cup. Our Marketing Director Lane Mitchell spoke to Brad Kirby, our Director of Coffee, about why he selected Bulaago as Dilworth Coffee’s single origin coffee from Uganda.
Lane: Brad, what attracted you to this coffee?
Brad: When I select a coffee, the primary driver is always taste. But the Bulaago coffee from Uganda also has a powerful human story behind it. When I can source great tasting coffee that does great things for the people who plant, grow, harvest and process the coffee we love, then I consider this a win-win-win for everyone.
Lane: Can you tell us the human story?
Brad: Uganda is a tiny country, with tiny farms that have been producing coffee for centuries. But that coffee has mostly been lower-quality Robusta that, as you may expect, did not command the market prices that specialty grade Arabica coffee demands.
Following decades of total state control of the sector, the coffee industry was fully liberalized in the early 1990s and is currently entirely in private hands. This transformation opened the doors to farms specializing in higher quality Arabica coffee that have attracted both the attention and capital of great coffee importers like Crop to Cup.
Working through Crop to Cup, one of our premiere coffee importers, Dilworth Coffee participates in the Uganda Bulaago Project. The Project helps Arabica farms like this one in the Bulaago village produce some of the best coffee in the world. As part of the Uganda Bulaago Project, farmers now have access equipment and financing to take their coffee to a level where it can achieve international recognition. The Uganda Bulaago Project also builds a system through which farmers receive financing for educational initiatives, higher compensation for those who work on farms and additional training similar to what you would find with most direct trade relationships. In exchange, the farmers take the extra steps to produce top-lot, high scoring specialty grade coffee.
Our Uganda Bulaago is the product of this great coffee transformation. The coffee farmers win by producing exceptional gourmet coffee that commands a very nice price, and we win by being able to source high-quality coffee and share it with Dilworth Coffee customers.
Lane: What are the general flavor characteristics of coffee from Uganda and our Bulaago coffee?
Brad: Like most African coffees, the Uganda Bulaago presents with winey fruit characteristics layered on a smooth foundation of unsweetened chocolate. The chocolate is not overwhelming in this coffee, and it has very natural overtones; I describe chocolate flavors as cacao nibs.
Our Uganda Bulaago is complex while still being very approachable. The acidity is tangy, which highlights the stone fruit flavors inherent in the bean, but it is also very balanced. I like apricot and raisin flavors that brighten the cup.
Lane: Describe the cupping notes that we’d find in our Uganda Bulaago.
AROMA: Apricot, Candied Lemon
FLAVOR: Raisin, Apricot, Cacao Nibs
ACIDITY: Medium, Tangy
Lane: How did you approach roasting the Uganda Bulaago to help define the characteristics you wanted to accentuate?
Brad: To help develop the fruit flavors, we approach this coffee with a pretty high-charged temperature. This is a coffee that would also taste quite good roasted slightly lighter; but when I bring the temperature up slightly, I find the dried fruit flavors pop a little more.
Lane: How would you brew this coffee?
Brad: Our Uganda Bulaago is a fantastic single-origin espresso; in fact, we use the bean in some of our best-selling espresso blends. I also like this coffee brewed using an Aero Press, which produces a crisp, clean cup that is very fruit-forward.
Lane: Brad, can you tell our readers how to buy the coffee?
Brad: Sure. If you are a coffee shop or cafe, call us at 866 849 1682 to order wholesale coffee in bulk. If you’re a retail customer, you can order our Uganda Bulaago online. Or you can visit a Charlotte-area Dilworth Coffee shop for a wide range of great specialty coffees. Find a local coffee shop here.