The Uganda Kaproron Sipi Falls Honey Processed bean is a Micro-lot. This means, that we're going to run out of this one sooner, rather than later. If you like this one get it while you can.
Uganda Kaproron Sipi Falls Honey Processed coffee is cultivated on family owned farms located on the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Kaproron region of the Kween District, Uganda. The microregion is rife with coffee and is served by the Sipi Falls mill, a centralized washing station with the capacity to process and dry coffee for local farmers. Harvested cherries are received at the Sipi Falls mill, named after a trio of majestic waterfalls in the area. Smallholder producers grow coffee on the northern slopes of Mount Elgon, a massive peak split nearly in two by the border of Uganda and Kenya.
Blessed with two annual rainy seasons, Uganda is currently one of the top ten coffee producers in the world and the second largest in Africa. The steep slopes in the East and West of the country enjoy plenty of rainfall – even during the dry season these areas remain lush and verdant - and the numerous lakes and rivers nourish the soil throughout the year.
The coffee trees are intercropped with traditional food crops and grown in the shade of banana trees and other shade trees. These trees are host to the many brightly colored birds that flit from branch to branch and help rid the coffee of insects and parasites. In these self-sustaining conditions, coffee is left to grow naturally, flowering on average twice a year.
The cultivation of coffee has always been a major preoccupation, in Uganda and one of the few sources of commercial income available to rural families. Coffee growing has always remained the exclusive of the smallholder. There are an estimated 500,000 coffee farms in Uganda of which 95% are small family holdings of less than 1 hectare.” Sipi Falls since 1999 now incorporates over 5000 small-holder farmers, covering an area of over 2,000 hectares. Through training sessions, farmers now realize the benefits of improved farming practices in terms of crop yields, cup quality, and revenues.
The regions family farms, many of whom are families led by women have traditionally home processed the coffee, thinking of it as a way to add value to their crops. Sipi Falls washing station, however, has gone to great lengths to sit down with producers and show them the time savings and increased quality by contributing their unprocessed cherry to a central mill instead, where washing, fermenting and drying which can be performed consistently with professional oversight. The mill’s capacity to ensure strict drying protocols has improved coffee quality and create sustainable incomes for farmers in the region. Sipi Falls also has a nursery for local farmers with
Sipi Falls also has a nursery for local farmers with high-quality varieties providing agronomic support to the local smallholders. THIS micro-lot is comprised of Scott Labs selections 14 and 28, both classic French Mission Bourbon derivations. SL14 is coffee being berry disease and drought resistant, and the SL28, just being highly popular. Cherries are sorted, de-pulped, and dried (in this micro-lot) with the mucilage attached on raised beds under retractable roofs for three weeks. Honey processing has become popular over the last few years. But don’t let the name fool you, honey gets its name from the sticky mucilage left on the beans, not from a honey flavor. Honey Process is frequently referred to elsewhere in the world as semi-washed or pulped natural. It’s a
Honey Process is frequently referred to elsewhere in the world as semi-washed or pulped natural. It’s a hybrid processing method that strips the skin and fruit away but leaves the sticky mucilage surrounding the coffee intact. What Honey processing does do is accentuate sweetness and somewhat mute acidity (compared to fully washed) for a smoother cup. It’s a way to increase the range of outcomes from a single region.
The coffee cherries are first floated to sort for density and damaged seeds. In this special micro-lot for honey processing the mucilage-covered parchment is sent straight to the drying tables, skipping the fermentation tank and channel grading steps. Mill operators carefully dry and rotate the beans so there isn’t any chance of rot that could ruin the lot. After three weeks drying under retractable canopies and undergoing frequent turning to promote even slow drying, plus hand-picking visible defects, the coffee is ready to export.
You can think of this coffee as being something like a washed Ethiopian… but with a little something extra. It's an incredibly distinctive and nuanced coffee, lots of dimensions.
How to roast: One of two ways- both will be lovely but for different reasons. It will taste like two different coffees.
- The first method, you could apply high heat and slowly reduce throughout the roast for floral and light high-quality citrus elements that will remind you of an excellent Ethiopian coffee. High heat ramping down like this will bring you: Jasmine, honey, lemon zest, wildflowers, caramel... OR, start with a low heat and slowly add more and more as needed until the first crack. You’ll get a syrupy sweet cherry pie quality.
- Low heat ramping up brings you: black cherry, fig, vanilla, syrupy body. This coffee is drier and denser than the average coffee. Screen size sorting would pass for a great European Prep in Central America with 97% between screens 15-18. So very consistent prep.
Due to the size and density, however, wherever you start the roast, this coffee will perform best with plenty of heat applied during Maillard reactions leading into the first crack. You’ll experience the high points of well-processed East African coffees. Whether ramping up or down to the end, try to have plenty of heat at first crack.
Regarding roasting times, the longer roast times and even heat application will emphasize the body in this coffee – but the sweet florals and tropical notes will not be totally lost. If you’re looking for a syrupy coffee with sweet and floral nuance, this is definitely a good choice. Quicker roasts, as always, sharpen the brightness of a coffee.