Focus on a Farm: The Coffee Gardens - Uganda
Its really important to us that our coffee should have a fantastic flavour and is sourced sustainably, ethically and with traceability. The Coffee Gardens in Uganda not only has amazing coffee, but works extensively with the local farming communities. We are delighted that Shakeel Padamsey from the Coffee Gardens agreed to tell us more:
We were so excited to be asked to write a short piece for Leicester Coffee House! Not just because it’s nice to be asked to share our story, but because traceability and transparency is at the heart of what we try to do.
When we established The Coffee Gardens in 2017, one of the biggest issues we saw was that farmers in Uganda weren’t being incentivised to produce good quality coffee. You can read more about the challenges we saw and our journey here. Fundamentally, we believe that to create good quality coffee, we need to build a strong connection between the people who grow coffee and the people who drink it.
So, onto the most important people… exactly 60 farmers, including 7 women farmers, grew the coffee that is in our 2019/20 Muduku microlot (offered by Leicester Coffee House). Each farmer provided the equivalent of around 35 KGs of roasted coffee - which is actually 300kgs of fresh red coffee cherries. All of these farmers live at around 2000 meters above sea level, on the mountain top above our washing station.
We chose Fred Wambazu to be the face of this microlot because he’s one of the main reasons you’re even able to drink this coffee! In addition to being a coffee farmer, Fred is also one of the lead “runners” - a part of our team who carry 50kg bags of coffee down the mountain to our station, because many farmers aren’t able to transport the coffee themselves. Even when it’s raining (which is almost every day during the coffee harvest season), Fred and his team make sure that we get coffee cherries when it’s freshly picked. This is so important because the coffee fruit starts to decompose within a few hours of being picked, so freshness is key to making a high quality coffee.
The Coffee Gardens Station - Wet Parchment Dripping and Sorting
Equally important is making sure we are paying farmers properly and working hard to improve the social and environmental conditions of our farming community. You can learn more from our annual transparency and impact reports on our website here. But none of this is possible without working with partners who equally share our values, such as our distributor Falcon Specialty and of course coffee shops like Leicester Coffee House. Seeing coffee with our name on it offered is incredibly motivating and helps us keep going during the long, cold and wet days of the harvest season!
Shakeel Padamsey, The Coffee Gardens