Uganda - Midnight Flyer
- Region - Rwenzori, Western Uganda
- Varietals - SL14, SL28
- Process - Washed & Sundried
- Taste notes - lack Tea, Milk Chocolate, Apple
- Roast Level - Medium
- Q Grade - 84.5
Uganda lies in the heart of East Africa on the shores of Lake Victoria – straddling the equator and the source of the Nile, Sir Winston Churchill first described Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, while admiring its “magnificent variety of form and colour, profusion of brilliant life and its vast scale”.
Benefiting from a bi-modal rainfall season and high altitudes, the country has a pleasant climate all year round and is lush with greenery. The mountain ranges to the east and west are home to Uganda’s Arabica farmers. Robusta is produced on the central plateau and the government of Uganda is promoting coffee production as a key driver for rural development.
The Rwenzoris are famously known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ and stretch for 120km along the Western Border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Baknozo tribe farm this region and harvest this coffee by hand, carefully selecting ripe cherries. They are proud and strong and have farmed the foothills of Rwenzori for over 15 generations.
This Ugandan Coffee that we call Midnight Flyer is a fully washed coffee from Bugoye, a recent washing station development with a focus on fully washed lots. The coffee is processed and sourced from around 300-500 farms – the farm sizes in the Rwenzori mountains are very small! It is therefore almost impossible to get a single farm lot within the region, so farms are grouped into specific areas.
Our suppliers Omwani Coffee Company produce many lots, so to organise the different areas/regions, they work directly with a ‘promoter farmer’ who is trusted within their community and buys coffee from the group on their behalf. To help manage this process, when areas are hard to get to, (and most of them are!), Omwani build ‘collection centres’ which the promoter farmer will manage and be responsible for – they also help with the logistics of collecting coffee and keeping it fresh. The Rwenzori are 120km in length so having the collection centres distributed evenly is key!
When Omwani first started buying coffee in the Rwenzori, it was all about buying premium Drugar (Dried Ugandan Arabica) also know as Omwani’s ‘African Moon’. As the operation grew and developed, the strong focus on producing premium natural coffees was at the core of the work (Bukonzo Dream). However, from 2017, with other leading processing countries diversifying and innovating with new processing methods (carbonic maceration, honeys, fermentation), the desire to produce excellent washed coffees became a necessity. Omwani started pulping coffee in 2017-2018 season and as with every new project, found the sweet spot of producing consistent premium washed coffees.
Generally, the Midnight Flyer coffees are processed and produced from the new Washing Station Bugoye. However, with the network of buying centres growing out in the Rwenzori, there is sometimes a requirement for these stations to also pulp. Each station has its own pulper and can help with logistics. For example, if the weather is bad and the trucks cannot get up to collect the fresh cherry, the centres may use their pulpers to pulp the coffee before being transported down. Also, at the peak of the season, there may be so much cherry coming down into the washing station, to help manage drying bed capacity, they may ask the collection centres to pulp in order to slow up the flow of cherry!