I have been thinking about coffee a lot lately. Coffee as a whole; the plant, the berries, the beans, the myriad of beverages and desserts that are made out of it, the culture. Although I never talk about coffee (I have probably never even blogged about it!), coffee is a part of my life story. Although I rarely take it, coffee is tightly woven in the history of our people. The Rwenzori Mountain dwellers. You see the history of Mountain Rwenzori coffee is a long one and started way back with our forefathers. One wouldn’t have a piece of land without coffee plants on them. For a young man to be ready to have a family and take care of it, he needed to at least have a piece of land, readily available coffee plants and the rest of the food crop. My grandmother has coffee plants older than my mother and she tell me stories of how they have helped her raise her children. Whenever I go to visit her, there is that familiar scent of dried coffee berries in the house which I eventually take part in spreading outside so they can fully dry. Over stories and laughter I have helped pick ripe coffee berries with my grandmother. I have also watched a basin of coffee being negotiated. I have watched with a heavy heart children as young as five to adults as old as 70 carry huge sacks of dried coffee up and down the mountain in hopes of finding a buyer.
It’s is only recently that I was amazed at the culture of coffee in First World, a cult almost. It’s is also just recently that I got to know that Uganda produces one of my the world’s best coffee. But putting two and two together, I wondered why coffee farmers never get value for their hard work considering a cup of coffee can cost a lot. I am still learning more about the process of coffee production and one of my dreams is to make a coffee cake out of my grandmother’s coffee that I have picked, dried, peeled, roasted and ground myself. Maybe by the time that dream is accomplished, I will have had all my questions answered.
What is your take on coffee as a Ugandan?
And if you are from the Rwenzori region, what Solutions do you think we can adopt to produce even greater coffee and let the farmers benefit from this?