Mt. Elgon, Uganda
Given that coffee trees have a love affair with volcanic soil, it’s no surprise to find that Mt. Elgon is actually an extinct volcano that spreads its skirts out across the border of Uganda and Kenya. This is a significant fact for coffee lovers, as Ugandan coffees from this region carry flavors reminiscent of superior Kenyan offerings. But offerings from Mt. Elgon are not Kenyan knock-offs. Rather, they carry their own distinctive terroir, which has been compared to a complex mixture of sweetness, clarity, and fruit obtained from a blend of Colombia and Kenya offerings.
Mt. Elgon region is also home to a special Arabica variety named Presidium Nyasaland. Originally from western Ethiopia, Geisha area, it was brought to Malawi (Nyasaland as it was then called), before British colonialists introduced it in Uganda in the early 1900s. When Idi Amin abolished coffee cultivation during his dictatorship in the 1970s and required growers to destroy their trees to plant other crops, a certain number of Nyasaland trees survived thanks to the care and non-compliance of coffee growers there. Presidium Nyasaland coffee offers more intense floral aromas, almond notes, and more resistance to disease than the more common and high-yielding SL28 and SL14 hybrid varieties.