Uganda Sipi Falls AA
Sipi Falls, named after Uganda's most famous waterfall, is a centralized wet mill in the Kapchorwa district that buys and processes cherry from 8,000 organic and diversified farms across the northern part of Mount Elgon. The sheer volume of quality coffee produced by this single wet mill is a testament to the genuinely ideal conditions of elevation, biological wealth, and human experience that abound between the farmers and Sipi Falls' management team.
Not to mention the ingenious business model itself, which, more than 20 years after its founding, continues to be a leader in affordable, certified coffee of the highest quality on the continent, the wet mill was Africa's first certified organic producer in 2002.
Sipi Falls facilitates retrieval of cherry, mechanical de-mucilage, fermentation, washing, patio pre-drying, mechanical drying, and conditioning at their mill property at 1800m elevation. Then, in the on-site cupping lab, they taste every finished batch immediately after drying completes and then again multiple weeks later to verify the final rested quality for export.
The result is a clean, exemplary expression of the gorgeous Elgon terroir and a shelf-stable green coffee whose delicate attributes resist degradation. And profitability follows: the qualities produced by scaling and centralizing processing mean a significantly higher cherry price to farmers, not to mention relieving them of the extended labor, risk, and expense of processing and storing coffee at the household level. The wet mill also recycles its wastewater through filtered lagoons and maintains a sizeable organic nursery to benefit participating farmers.
Sipi Falls' coffees are rich and delicious but also capable of surprising floral and mandarin-like sweetness. It's an incredible experience to see such a prime terroir unlocked through quality processing, where just a matter of years ago, quality was often lost in transit. Sipi Falls doesn't stop there, however. The handful of experimental-process micro-lots they produce each year from their best farmers are different and stand easily compared to the most delicious coffees anywhere in the world.
Aroma: Fruity, Bourbon, Oak Barrel Aroma
Cup: Creamy, Smooth Cordial Cherry
Finish: Rich, Dark Chocolate
About this Coffee
GROWER: Producers organized around Sipi Falls Wet Mill
REGION: Sipi, Kapchorwa District, Uganda, Mt. Elgon Region, Eastern Uganda
ALTITUDE: 1800 – 2000 meters above sea level
PROCESS: Fully Washed and dried in the sun
VARIETY: Bourbon, SL14, SL28, Blue Mountain
HARVEST: September - February
SOIL: Volcanic loam
CERTIFICATION: Organic | Rainforest Alliance
Mount Elgon is a massive peak split nearly in two by the border of Uganda and Kenya. The "mountain" is an enormous expanse of successive plateaus floating dramatically above the surrounding valley floor. It is also home to a dense patchwork of farming communities growing some of the best organic coffee in Africa.
Farmers across Mt. Elgon for years have been (and still are) accustomed to rudimentary home processing techniques. Most coffee coming off the mountain is pulped in tiny batches, often on borrowed equipment, and fermented in a bucket or a nylon bag before being tarp-dried on the ground or, at best, on a mesh screen inches above the patio. However, the team at Kawacom, the export company that built the Sipi Falls mill, recognized the more significant potential in the landscape than previously seen and set about to capture that potential at scale.