‘Lion’s Roar’ is our second lot of specialty grade single farmer ROBUSTA. It’s produced by Stephan Katongole on his family farm in Sembabule, Uganda. Stephan is very passionate about the quality of his coffees and about the principles of direct trade, hence the name of his business: coffeeyouknow. The coffee he produces has a very clean, earthy and chocolaty vibe to it with hints of fruit, just enough to make a very exciting full bodied and spicy Espresso.
Robusta is a different species of coffee from the more widely known Arabica. The vast majority of Robusta is low quality coffee that gets processed into instant coffee. In recent years though, there has been a slow but growing move towards producing higher quality specialty grade (or 'Fine') Robusta. As per the name, this species of coffee is slightly more robust as a plant. It is less prone to suffer from climate fluctuations, pest and plant diseases. It generally grows at lower elevations and produces higher yields. It also contains significantly more caffeine compared to Arabica beans which helps it defend itself against insects and other plant pests (caffeine being a natural insecticide and anti-microbial agent). In terms of the flavour in the cup Robusta usually produces a less complex, less acidic and less fruity cup. Bad Robusta usually makes for a bitter, burnt and rubbery cup of coffee. However, if done right it can be quite a different story. Stephan’s coffee is definitely the proof of that. It is a brilliant example for this new world of Fine Robustas. With this pure Robusta for Espresso you get all the notes that we love about a proper traditional Italian Espresso - the chocolate, the depth, the body, the spicy earthiness - without the more unpleasant aspects of bitterness, astringency and burnt flavours. If you love Espresso, this one is for you!
The Katongole’s farm is situated 200km south of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Stephan’s grandfather originally bought the land that is part of the indigenous rainforest in the area and started growing food crops like Matoke (cooking banana), maize, tomatoes and coffee. Stephan took over the farm a few years ago. In keeping with the traditional methods of using the surrounding vegetation for shade and mineral enrichment of the soil, he has expanded the coffee cultivation. Because of his sustainable approach to coffee farming he can avoid the use of additional pesticides and fertilizers and his coffees can be considered organic by default.
A lot of commercial grade coffee is grown in this area and Stephan competes with these bigger plantations over the coffee picking workforce during harvest season. In order to achieve the best quality he trains his workers to hand pick only the ripest coffee cherries. This is a lot more time and labour intensive which is one of the reasons his people get paid almost double the conventional rates and in addition to that he is always ready to help with medical expenses and things like school tuition for the workers’ children. For many of them their income from Stephan’s coffee farm means the difference between putting a meal on the table and going hungry. We have bought his coffee through our friend’s at This Side Up from the Netherlands who make sure Stephan receives the price for his coffee that he deserves and needs in order to build a sustainable coffee business.
As for the coffee processing: once the cherries are hand selected during picking, they are then depulped, rinsed off, transferred to water tanks and left to ferment for 16-20 hours. After that, they are rinsed again and spread out on raised netted beds to dry in the sun for 5-14 days until the residual moisture content in the beans does not exceed 12%. This Side Up organises the export/import logistics of getting the coffee to Europe, we roast it to perfection and that’s how it ends up in your cup. Enjoy!
Uganda 'Lion's Roar' - Fully Washed Robusta, uncertfied organic
100% ROBUSTA, medium roast
Region: Sembabule District
Altitude: 1250 masl
Producer: Stephan Katongole
Process: Fully Washed, uncertified organic
Tasting Notes: Dark Chocolate, Green Apple, S’mores
Recommended for: Espresso, Stove Top Pot