by Thomas Delbar & Emmanuel Egaddu
Kawacom Uganda Limited is proud to announce its provision of Starbucks with a Single Origin, Special Reserve coffee. The distinctive cup profile of ‘SIPI FALLS’ Fully Washed has earnt its position on some of the most coveted shelf space in the Specialty market.
Starbucks describes the coffee as having “lemony acidity and a creamy cup feel with caramel accents”.
Kawacom is the Ugandan branch of the ECOM Agro-Industrial Group, and is, since 1996, the leader in sustainable coffee initiatives and export of certified coffees. Kawacom believes that by investing in farming communities the company can positively impact the quality of life of its members and the environment in the areas in which it works. Since the late nineties it has been working with the diligent farming communities surrounding Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. Today 11,000 farmers are certified to Organic, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance standards.
Sensing the potential to improve the area’s coffee output Kawacom constructed, in 2009, a fully equipped, state-of-the-art centralised wet processing mill unique to Africa. This centralised processing facility has an 8.5mt/hr cherry processing capacity, mechanical dryers, retractable drying yard roofs, a 300 Mt warehouse and a natural waste water treatment system using volcanic rocks in combination with various aerobic and anaerobic digestion techniques so as to leave no footprint on the environment. Through the deployment of such a coffee processing mill, Kawacom enhances the quality of smallholder-grown fine Ugandan Arabica. By selling cherries, as opposed to semi-washed parchment, farmers have seen an increment in price relative to market values and consumers around the world have been taken aback by the Fully Washed end product.
Discerning Specialty Roasters have long since been sceptical of Ugandan coffees but Kawacom has bucked this trend. Henry Ngabirano, MD of the Ugandan Coffee Development Authority, wrote “Uganda will not be able to thank [Kawacom] enough for making Ugandan coffee occupy shelf space in the most quality conscious market in the world.” Thomas Delbar, Commercial Manager of Kawacom, expanded: “Respecting standards, both of quality parameters and of certification requirements, along the value chain means that there is better life out of coffee”.
Through the hard work involved by all of Kawacom’s staff and member farmers, Kawacom is honoured to have been recognised by Starbucks in this way. The company hopes that this recognition for Ugandan Specialty coffee will grow over the coming years as the country’s coffee infrastructure expands and farmers continue to work hard seeing greater economic benefits.
The proof of this already lies in the distinctive cup profile of Uganda’s Sipi Falls.