Uganda – Manual coffee pulper.


Uganda – Manual coffee pulper., originally uploaded by sweetmarias.

I went on a brief trip to Uganda, for the very first time. I was traveling with Jeremy Tooker of 4 Barrel Coffee, and we met Charles Angebault, who has a project with a cooperative near Mbale named, rather comically, CoffeeACup coop. Okay, I know you are dying to know … it stands for Community Organized Farmers From Elgon Escarpment Arabica Coffee Uganda Program! Actually it was supposed to have on E after Coffee, but it was incorrectly transcribed so they thought up “Escarpment” to justify the additional E. Uganda has potential, but there is much quality work to do in harvesting and drying of coffee. Most farmers never drink coffee here … in fact many don’t know exactly what coffee is used for. Because it is ground into powder, and because the government long ago would trade coffee for guns when they lacked money to pay for it, farmers actually believe coffee is ground and made into gunpowder! We met Mathias, the inspired and inspiring leader of the CoffeeACup cooperative, and Joselyn who is the development director, and I found them to be extremely intelligent, intuitive and motivated. I really hope this project pans out, and we can elevate the quality as well as introduce small lot, farmer-specific Uganda coffee in this next harvest season. Aleco from Stumptown was the first visitor here, and he encouraged us to check out this project and to become involved, so a big thanks to him for what amounted to a few great days of coffee travel, camping out in tents, eating fresh omelets and local foods all day, and making some new friends … as well as meeting 10,000 smiling Bugisu children, all who must be photographed and then you must show each their photo on the digital camera. It was great fun. I felt like I was in a parade for 4 days, waving and greeting everyone we passed. Ah!  Some of the images can be seen on our flickr or the full Uganda photo set at Sweet Maria’s Dot Com. -Tom