Time that Ugandan Lodges – Hotels – start serving good Ugandan Coffee
Coffee – you can see it growing in many parts of Uganda – yet often it is coffee that visitors complain about
I came across this on TripAdvisor in a review by a visitor to Uganda “The coffee is weak and terrible, just like every place in Uganda. I am used to that.” Coffee is something many of us enjoy, and not just any coffee, but good coffee, not instant, not weak stuff, but real good Ugandan coffee which is produced in this country but often not served.
The sun is rising in Uganda, you are at a lodge in the bush and coffee is brought to you, so you think. But what greets you is a tin of instant coffee, some tepid hot water, milk…disappointment is an understatement. You might have one of the best views in Africa, the room is comfortable, clean and nicely decorated, the food is excellent but the coffee is lousy…yes plain lousy..eluding comments such as above on TripAdvisor “The coffee is weak and terrible, just like every place in Uganda.”
Uganda might be the Pearl of Africa, a place of scenic wonders, home of over half of the mountain gorillas in the world, best place in East Africa for Chimpanzee Tracking, great wildlife viewing and fantastic birding, however if the coffee first thing in the morning is just plain lousy – not a great way to start the day in country where coffee is one of its greatest exports, where some of the finest coffee is grown on the slopes of Mount Elgon or the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon.
Part of the promotion of Uganda is promoting some of the best things Uganda grows, pineapple, mangoes, papaya, watermelon, passion-fruit and yes coffee and not coffee that is weak and terrible or instant. My advice to owners of Hotels, Lodges, Guest Houses and other kinds of accommodations – “start serving a good cup of real Ugandan Coffee” an quit serving a tepid brew that resembles some lukewarm brown in color liquid that you might call coffee but guests calls it “weak and terrible.”
Start buying real coffee, yes it costs more but it will satisfy your clients and just maybe instead of “The coffee is weak and terrible” you will see a comment about your lodging that says “Best coffee in Uganda.” You can even put a sign on table – a note on menu “We are proud to serve fine Ugandan Coffee.” When it come to Ugandan coffee there are two types, the one is from Robusta Coffee Beans and the best tasting is the one is produced from Arabica Beans. Stick with Arabic Coffee Beans, my personal favorite is “Bugizu Coffee” from Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda, as I write this I am just on my third morning cup of it.
Serving quality coffee calls for training staff as to how to make a “Good Ugandan Cup of Coffee.” most lodge staff members had a great cup of tea that morning and know little about coffee but bringing you some hot water in a thermos, milk, sugar and that dreaded tin of Nescafe or red Star Instant coffee.
When you serve a good Ugandan cup of coffee, you are promoting Uganda, do not serve coffee made in Kenya, it is bad enough that in Western Stores, Coffee Outlets you can find coffee grown in Kenya or Ethiopia but not coffee from Uganda that is sold as such. You can find Bugizu Coffee from Mount Elgon on the Internet but rarely in one of its hotels or lodges.
Coffee Shops are growing in number in Kampala, I even saw that Gulu now has a place with great coffee but go on Safari and even at up-market places (recently read a review that stated so” you are served that dreadful instant coffee. Instant means you bypass time and effort and that something is lost, that goes from instant mashed potatoes to instant cup of soups and certainly is true with Coffee.
I love Uganda, I think it has much to offer and it just might be about time that Hotels and Lodges serve the best of Uganda, a good cup of Ugandan coffee for breakfast, and you can even offer a package of the coffee you serve for clients to take home to their country of origin.
There is a great move afoot that is called “Proud to be Ugandan” which is great and just maybe we can extend that to “Proud to Serve Good Ugandan Coffee.” … from the home of great coffee…the Pearl of Africa…Uganda.
Personal Note: Getting good coffee used to be so hard in Uganda that I used to buy a few pounds of coffee at Starbucks – bring a French Press and make it fresh, grown in Africa, roasted in the USA and consumed in Uganda. Today that is no longer necessary – you can buy good coffee here. In Supermarkets buy Ugandan, read the label where it was made, avoid the red packaged Star Coffee, stick to their black packaged Bugisu Coffee, about 4 USD for 250 grams, lower priced “Good African Coffee” medium roast is a good choice. You can also buy good Ugandan coffee at various coffee shops in Kampala such as Cafe Pap, Ban Cafe, 1000 Cups of Coffee, Javas and others. If you want a good cup coffee at all lodgings, you might just want to bring a small French Press and buy the coffee here.
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys