Joe went to Washington DC the weekend of June 29. In addition to protesting the recent immigration happenings at the White House, he visited the State Department wearing a tie for a coffee cupping session. Along with others in the coffee industry, he met and listened to the Ambassador for the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda, Mull Sebujja Ketende. Co-hosts were the Uganda Coffee Development Agency, the East Africa Trade & Investment Hub and the Academy of Coffee Excellence.
There were 16 coffees, mostly Arabica and some Robusto beans. The diversity in flavors were abundant and the difference between the 2 grades were apparent. Ketende's purpose was to share Ugandan Government efforts to enhance the quality of life of its citizens by way of improving the coffee industry infrastructure and essentially getting Uganda's "name" out there as a source for high quality coffee beans. In past years, Uganda has been selling bulk coffee to multinational companies with no recognition. If any of you have tried our Ugandan coffee, it's a disservice to the farmers to keep it a secret.
Uganda has among the most rugged terrain of coffee farming worldwide with highest elevations, plateaus, waterfalls and fresh water resources. Mount Elgon, the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa at 14,000+ft high is the ceiling to many eastern Uganda Arabica coffee farms on its slopes. The Arabica beans PFTR roasts are from the Rwenzori Mountain Range on Uganda's western border, just at the Equator. Some of these mountains are permanently snow capped with glaciers between them and reaching heights of 16,000+ft in altitude. As you can imagine, the ecosystem is extremely diverse!
The plan is to use Government money to improve roads, build and improve existing washing stations and dry mills, as well as encourage tradition of coffee farming to youth and hopefully reduce poverty over time. This is a familiar story to many impoverished coffee producing countries. While the industry keeps rising, Uganda will hopefully reap the benefits of their hard work and make themselves a big name in the world of coffee.