First discovered in the wild in 9th century Ethiopia, coffee took some centuries to spread. In the 12th century, herbalists in Yemen began using it as a remedy for stomach upsets. It reached Britain in the 16th century, America in the 17th and Uganda in 1900.
Culturally the English were closer to tea and the Empire needed ways of financing itself, so they introduced Ugandans to tea drinking while coffee was exclusively for making money. In early 21th century coffee shops began popping up in Kampala and the “new” drink gradually conquered the middle class. Now every town worth its name has a coffee place — but none has a coffee tour as great as Kisoro! You have come at the right time to the right place.
Your Expert Guide
Julius Wetala has been leading coffee tours for many years. He is an expert in the field, a man from a family of coffee growers in Eastern Uganda and a professional with coffee lab experience.
He offers the following options for accessing a coffee grower’s homestead on a hill separating Kisoro Town from Lake Mutanda:
- 2-hour self-drive tour (Julius will join your car in Kisoro and you will reach the site in a matter of minutes)
- 2-hour special hire tour (he will arrange transport for you)
- 3-hour walking tour from Kisoro and back
The program covers: coffee history, science and practice of coffee growing, processing and handling coffee, tasting of different roasting styles.
- let coffee facts blow your mind (have you been doing it wrong all along?)
- spend quality time with a lovely local family growing, processing and roasting coffee
- add unique stuff to your Instagram collection with a beautiful lake in the background
- get a free gift — a little bag of coffee
duration: 2-3 hours; difficulty: easy
area: Kisoro – Lake Mutanda
Price: USD 20 (two people minimum)
Includes professional guidance, coffee tasting and a gift.
If you have opted for a walking trip, Wetala will stroll with you through Kisoro first, telling you everything he knows about the town. As you hit rural roads you will begin to gradually climb and soon reach the local family. The entire walk takes about 30 minutes.
If you come by car, know that you will park in a village (it’s totally safe) and then experience about 10 minutes of intense climbing before you are at the family compound.
Julius Wetala will first show you the plantation and talk about the difference between Arabica and Robusta. The former is compatible with high altitude areas and therefore the choice of the Gorilla Highlands region.
Farmers harvest big red beans, remove the husk and dry them for two weeks. They mix them with ash which helps soften the coating for first germination.
Back at the family house you will witness wet processing, when the coat is removed by pulping. Dry parchment is then taken to hauling and the farmer thus gets to clean beans. Grading follows — based on size.
The lady of the house will then roast the beans in a thatched area in front of the house. There are three levels of coffee roasting: light roast, medium roast and dark roast.
Finally, the degustation! Julius will show you how different roasting, water temperature and time affect the taste of what is in your cup… You will never drink the same again!
Click for our stories from the GH Silverchef regional cooking competition …
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