CROWN JEWEL UGANDA ORGANIC MBALE MOUNTAIN HARVEST RAISED BED HONEY CJO1496 – 28291 – SPOT RCWHSE

Price $184.71 per box

Box Weight 22.00 lbs

Position Spot

Boxes 23

Warehouses Oakland

Flavor Profile Orange, peach, tangy, greek-yorgurt

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Overview 

This is a centrally processed honey coffee from Mt. Elgon, Uganda, produced by farmers organized around Mountain Harvest. It is certified organic. 

The flavor profile is high intensity with orangey acidity, blackberry and red grape sweetness, and hints of hibiscus. 

Our roasters found the green coffee’s high density to require a little extra energy early in roasting and cautioned this may create a tendency for the roast to race a little at first crack. 

When brewed, our baristas found a balanced cup profile as a pour-over with a slightly coarser grind setting and a slightly extended bloom and brew time. 

 

When brewed, our baristas found a balanced cup profile as a pour-over with a slightly coarser grind setting and a slightly extended bloom and brew time.

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Making a strong case for “Uganda of the Year” this super clean and high-octane honey process is a feast for the senses. We picked up a really fun combination of fruit flavors, ranging from ripe blackberry to fresh orange, red grape and sweet tomato. It’s got a zippy acidic quality and a ton of potential for sugar browning sweetness to layer on top of all those fruit notes. There’s also a hint of florality to it, like hibiscus, and one of our cuppers noted persimmon, which – if you’ve had one of those perfectly ripe sweet little Fuyu varieties – is a spot-on tasting note. 

The beauty of well executed honey processing, like this Mbale-grown example, is its ability toe the line between flavors we identify as terroir and cultivar-related (like the rich body, citric acidity, and chocolatey tones we often associate with Mt. Elgon arabica) and those more closely related to process – like that sweet ripe fruitiness of the coffee berry itself, expressed here in varying degrees of berry, grape, and even watermelon flavors.  

 

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger 

Mount Elgon is a massive peak split nearly in two by the border of Uganda and Kenya. The “mountain” itself, now an extinct shield volcano, is more an enormous expanse of successive plateaus that float 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. 

Mountain Harvest is a very young and big-thinking group, first established in 2017. The company is dedicated to long-term economic and environmental sustainability for smallholders on Mt. Elgon. These farmers are Uganda’s highest and most diversified coffee growers with incredible quality potential thanks to the climate, soil fertility, and a longstanding culture of land stewardship, but who historically struggle to meet specialty standards by processing coffee in tiny amounts on homemade equipment. 

In an effort to raise the economic standard in remote coffee-growing Elgon communities, Mountain Harvest began as an impact investing project underwritten by Lutheran World Relief (LWR). It has expanded in just a few years to include farmer education and training, central processing infrastructure, storage facilities throughout the region, detailed quality control, and international marketing. As of this year Mountain Harvest works with 850 individual smallholders across 8 communities on Mt. Elgon, with each farm growing between 600-1,000 coffee trees. And their coffee stands up to the best fully washed Uganda arabicas we typically taste all year. 

The vast majority of coffee managed by Mountain Harvest is traditionally processed by farmers at home and delivered as parchment. This coffee, however, is a centrally-processed honey microlot from select communities within Mountain Harvest’s farmer network: fresh picked cherry was transported directly from select farms in sealed drums to an experimental processing site constructed by Mountain Harvest near their headquarters in Mbale, where it was immediately sorted and put out to slowly sun-dry to 10% moisture, all of which is overseen by Mountain Harvest’s processing manager, Ibra Kiganda. The final dried coffee is then conditioned for two weeks in a temperature-controlled warehouse prior to sampling for quality assessment.   

Over the course of a full harvest coffees are built into blended containers, single-community lots, experimental centrally-processed lots like this one, and single-delivery microlots for sale. Mountain Harvest’s minimum pricing is 10-30% above local market prices. Unlike other regional buyers who exclusively process centrally or buy lower grade smallholder parchment, Mountain Harvest invests in farmers’ capacity to produce high-specialty cherry or fully-dried parchment coffee within their own resources, helping them maximize their margin when they sell. 

 

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

This is a great looking green coffee. High in density, low-to-moderate in moisture with stable water activity, and screen sizes cleanly sorted to 16-18. With honey processed coffee we sometimes see some discoloration of silver skin on the green, and there is the faintest of glimmer of a reddish hue on a few beans. 

Classic Ugandan cultivars grown here by local smallholders include SL14, the preferred Scott Labs iteration, first selected in Kenya in 1936 for its tolerance to drought. It’s a Typica type plant, per genetic testing as stated by World Coffee Research. The Nyasaland selection dates back even farther, to Typica introduced to Malawi (formerly known as Nyasaland) from Jamaica in 1878. It’s known locally in Uganda as “Bugisu.” 

 

Production Roast: Diedrich Analysis by Doris Garrido 

We have received the first Uganda coffees this year, they came in tasty, and I was really excited to start roast analysis on them. I started it by running the green grading. The coffee looked great. Around 70% of the coffee range fell in screen size 16 and 17, which means that I have a good chance to have a nicely even roast. Density reads 740 grams per liter, with 10.4% of moisture content. With this information I planned my charge temperature: 451F with 100% gas. 

This was my third roast on the Diedrich for the day, and after the previous roast the drum was heating up, I went ahead and I added 100% gas, waited to reach the temperature I decided (450F) and charged the coffee. I did not plan for the rest of the roast; the first minutes I was observing how it behaved. It ended with just some simple gas changes, and that made the curve look beautiful, at least to me. It was also quick to reach turning point (1:21 sec/20.2F), and that pushed the curve to hit 440F soon on my exhaust temperature. From there I dropped the gas to 30% gas, the lowest with the burners on. It was almost the last gas movement, except that I killed the burners halfway through post development. I basically just calculated enough energy to finish the roast and I did it, it worked well. 

Talking about air, I used air through the roaster (50/50) at the beginning of the roast, starting around 2 minutes, during the turnaround. I was looking for two things, first to accelerate my drying phase, I was looking for the air to help push the water out of the bean, which would make coffee start browning, and to stabilize the drum temperature. In the gap before color change and middle of Maillard, I closed the air, but reopened it again at 337.9F. The purpose there was to lower my rate of rise and to clear the smoke out of the drum as much as possible. I did this by going full open air from there to the end of the roast. It is important to notice that my bean rate of rise was high, and by adding all this air while the gas was at its lowest setting helped me greatly by lowering the rate of rise.  

Here are the tasting notes: cherry, clean dried strawberry, fresh watermelon, fruity, grape acidity, hibiscus, milk chocolate, plum, red apple, rose, some florals, sweet candy. 

In my opinion this roast went kind of easy, the high-density green gives me space to be aggressive and I was able to manage the end of the roast. I would say that after you lost all water before and after first crack handling the post development can be tricky, it may try to run, that was probably the hardest part but I was able to manage by killing the burners on time. This was a 7:33 minute roast on a 5.5 lbs. batch coffee.  

 

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

Doris let me know that the next few coffees from Uganda are extremely dense. Much like her, I decided to hit these with more power than usual due to their extraordinary density. With a charge temperature of 455F, P8 power, and the usual F2 fan, I really wanted to get this coffee rolling early on.  

At Turning Point, I reduced heat to P7 and increased airflow to F3 to begin the drawdown from my peak RoR of 33F/min. Around 300F, I increased fan speed to F4 since Doris let me know that I’d need to anticipate a late-roast spike in RoR if I didn’t start reducing heat application – something fairly common with very dense coffees. At Yellowing, I reduced power to P6 as the coffee was just going about its merry way through Maillard without much goading. At 360F, it just kept going… so I did the unthinkable and reduced heat further to P5, but still got a peak in RoR just before first crack, where I increased fan speed to F5, which would be risking a dramatic drop and perhaps even a stall in a less dense coffee. This one, however, kept chugging along through first crack, and I was able to achieve 2 minutes in Post-Crack Development and a final temperature of 393F, my general dropping point for lighter roasts.  

Honestly, I was afraid that the spike in RoR late in the roast would just absolutely ruin the cup, but I need to just wait to see the proof in the pudding instead of worrying, apparently. Creamy smooth texture, juicy plum flavors, and a cherry compote sweetness came through here. There was even a touch of lime and floral when hot that I just chased after with successive tastes.  

I could see this coffee being served as an espresso at a slightly darker roast level, but this roast would do remarkably well as a filter drip. There’s a lot of latitude to work with in this coffee but remember how dense it is before making your roast plan; this one will need a lot of heat – until it doesn’t!  

 

Brew Analysis by Joshua Wismans 

Brewing honey processed coffees is always an adventure.  Do you lean in to the natural-esque processing flavors? Do you try to clean up the cup, attempting to create a ‘fruity washed’ profile? Luckily for us, this honey-process coffee from Moutain Harvest shows a beautiful balance between the two. For our brew analyses, we explored how this coffee responded to various grinds and brew lengths.  

The first brew that began to show the true expression of this coffee was ground moderately at a 9.5 on our EK43s. Using a brew ratio of 1:15.79, we gave the coffee a slightly longer bloom as we noticed the coffee brewed fairly quickly. Ending with a brew time of 3:10, this brew showed balance, with notes of berry, tobacco, and persimmon while retaining a more delicate rooibos tea profile. However, I was hoping to refine the brew and bring more fruit out. The brew had a TDS of 1.39, so I thought maybe a slightly finer grind may do the trick. I responded to this brew by making the grind a half point finer. Ultimately this brew was too heavy, with a TDS of 1.48 and notes of compote and over-extracted rooibos.  

The sweet spot I found was a longer brew at my original coarser setting of 9.5. The bloom was 45 seconds, but my pour was slower and steadier, with my first pour to 200, and my second to 300. The total brew length was 3:45, and the TDS was 1.43 (the sweet spot!). The brew showed much more peach, bear, sweet spice, and delicate rooibos.   

We recommend a TDS of 1.43, a nice slow pour to extend the brew time, and a moderate grind just slightly on the coarser side. 

 

Coffee Background

Mount Elgon is a massive peak split nearly in two by the border of Uganda and Kenya. The “mountain” itself, now an extinct shield volcano, is more an enormous expanse of successive plateaus that float 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.     Mountain Harvest is a very young and big-thinking group, first established in 2017. The company is dedicated to long-term economic and environmental sustainability for smallholders on Mt. Elgon. These farmers are Uganda’s highest and most diversified coffee growers with incredible quality potential thanks to the climate, soil fertility, and a longstanding culture of land stewardship, but who historically struggle to meet specialty standards by processing coffee in tiny amounts on homemade equipment.    In an effort to raise the economic standard in remote coffee-growing Elgon communities, Mountain Harvest began as an impact investing project underwritten by Lutheran World Relief (LWR). It has expanded in just a few years to include farmer education and training, central processing infrastructure, storage facilities throughout the region, detailed quality control, and international marketing. As of this year Mountain Harvest works with 850 individual smallholders across 8 communities on Mt. Elgon, with each farm growing between 600-1,000 coffee trees. And their coffee stands up to the best fully washed Uganda arabicas we typically taste all year.  The vast majority of coffee managed by Mountain Harvest is traditionally processed by farmers at home and delivered as parchment. This coffee, however, is a centrally-processed, fully washed microlot from select communities within Mountain Harvest’s farmer network: fresh picked cherry was transported directly from select farms in sealed drums to an experimental processing site constructed by Mountain Harvest near their headquarters in Mbale, where it was depulped, fermented for 24 hours, and dried in larger, carefully-controlled volume on raised beds, all of which is overseen by Mountain Harvest’s processing manager, Ibra Kiganda. Centralized processing is ubiquitous across East Africa but in Uganda it is still rare, where collecting low-quality, often still humid, parchment from smallholders is the norm. While Mountain Harvest has had great success training their farmer base to home-process to excellent standards, the central-processing microlots are an attempt to elevate cup profiles even more through greater control.   Over the course of a full harvest coffees are built into blended containers, single-community lots, experimental centrally-processed lots like this one, and single-delivery microlots for sale. Mountain Harvest’s minimum pricing is 10-30% above local market prices. Unlike other regional buyers who exclusively process centrally or buy lower grade smallholder parchment, Mountain Harvest invests in farmers’ capacity to produce high-specialty cherry or fully-dried parchment coffee within their own resources, helping them maximize their margin when they sell.