Monday, February 07, 2011

Sweet Coffee

I roasted this weekend, finishing the last of my Ethiopian Limmu, and the Ugandan Bugisu from Mt Elgon. A colleague at work loves acidic coffee so I roasted a special batch of the Bugisu just for her. I took it to first crack and then a touch more until there was an even colour to most of the beans - but still very light.

We made a pour-over this morning and I had expectations of something quite tart given the colour of the beans.

But it was sweet, smooth and silky.

As it cooled I found the balance between acid and sweet more obvious but even so the sugar was more dominant than the sour and it had a very warm spicy thing happening somewhere towards the back of the palate.

Later, while sitting in a meeting the aftertaste was still with me - burnt fig, quite distinct and as clear as if Maggie Beer herself had been char-grilling the figs.

It was not at all what I expected, but very welcome.

Ugandan coffee has been improving in recent years and we are seeing more of it - the result of better shipping than anything else in many cases but the volcanic slopes on which the coffee grows support a range of cash and food crops and are intensively farmed.

This Google Earth generatred view from the Butiriku crater towards Mt Elgon (in the distant background) shows that even on the steep slopes of the crater, cultivation covers the sides with a patchwork of produce. The floor of the crater is at 1400 metres and rises to 1800 metres (in the centre-right of the photo).

This is certainly good coffee altitude and the area all around Mt Elgon supports a large number of villages and coffee is the main cash crop for most people in the region so it is great to see an improvement in quality and quantity from so many small producers.

And it was a fascinating coffee!