COFFEE SCORE: 84.5
Mubuku station sits on a 20-acre plot of land on the banks of the Mubuku River. The river runs from the glacial caps of the Upper Rwenzori’s all the way to Lake George. In between, it snakes its way down through the fertile farm land on the east facing slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain Range, past Mubuku station and into Lake George and the rest of African Great Lakes system.
Mubuku is quite close to the shores of Lake George. The mesmerizingly beautiful Queen Elisabeth National Park is the station’s southern neighbor. Even closer, the entrance to Rwenzori National Park is just one kilometer from the entrance to our washing station. Both parks are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Over 4,300 farmers contribute cherry to Mubuku station. They are spread out over a vast system of farms and communities. For those further away from our station, it can be a significant hardship to transport cherry to the station every day. In response to this, we have built a large network of Collection Sites in a web-like pattern that radiates from the washing station.
Because we receive only a small portion of cherry directly at the station itself, the contact farmers, those who run the collection sites for us, are an extremely important part of our system. We have established comprehensive procedural guidelines to make every collection site effective at receiving quality cherry.
At the collection sites, contact farmers float all cherry to gauge density. Contact farmers also conduct thorough visual inspection of incoming cherry. Contributing farmers are encouraged to harvest selectively and those who are struggling to reach our quality standards are invited to participate in training sessions to continue learning.
Harvest & Post Harvest
Cherry is transported from collection sites to the station daily. Once the cherry has made its perilous journey—the trips are often along steep, dirt roads that often turn to mud.
With construction being completed on our new, high capacity washing station, we will be looking to produce a strong variety of Washed, Natural and Honey processed coffees. While we were able in the last few crop cycles to produce these very exciting Naturals from well harvested and meticulously sorted cherry, the introduction of a state-of-the-art wet mill will mean that our Mubuku Project will be characterized by our ability to produce strong specialty grades in every across all processing methods, as well as creating a freedom to experiment with some new and exciting ways to bring out the great flavors locked up in these coffees.
For the production of these Naturals, we employed around 90 seasonal staff at the drying tables. These workers are focused almost exclusively on caring for drying cherry. They turn and rake the cherry frequently to promote even drying. As they turn cherry, they visually inspect it for any damaged or defective coffee and remove it. They’re also keeping track of the weather to make sure cherry is properly protected from rain, excess moisture and too much sunlight.
A smaller team runs the warehouse where we do manual hulling for sample preparation. These samples are sent to the lab in Kampala on a weekly basis. Once the sample indicates a moisture content of between 11 and 12%, we bag the dried cherry and let it rest until trucking it up to Kampala. Once it arrives in Kampala, we cup through all the day lots to inspect consistency and figure out the best ways to group day lots, based on cup quality, so that no premium coffee slips through the cracks.