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Uganda’s Mountains of the Moon: a surreal landscape of foggy ice at the highest altitudes, tapering down to slopes covered in strange, prehistoric-looking foliage.
Afroalpine plants sprout— bizarre forms of heather, moss, bamboo. The glacial melt and mists in these peaks feed the fertile micro-lots of the Bukonzo Joint Cooperative.
In this remote corner of the world, progressive ideas are taking hold; women are gaining access to land ownership.
Women like Grace Tembo.
Grace is part of a co-op that is 83% female. This an anomaly in the coffee world, where 2% woman ownership of land is the norm.
Grace Tembo, entrepreneur and proud matriarch, stands in front of a long roll of paper, it’s her Powerpoint, her flowchart. The chart depicts the people of Bukonzo Joint Cooperative as they harvest fruit, collect it, and wash it. If Ms. Tembo were in a boardroom she would call these pictograms her ‘best practices’.
The women of Bukonzo Joint tend to their coffee trees in the misty mountains, among the glacial water from local streams. Their careful washing and processing leads to the clean flavors of cherry, plum and black tea. These coffee varieties also lend toward a medium, almost syrupy body.
One may never get used to the surreal landscape in this corner of Africa, but we’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of coffee grown by women like Grace Tembo— women made resilient by this demanding microclimate.
Producer: Bukonzo Joint Cooperative; [bükənzō]
Taste notes: Syrupy, sweet and balanced with chocolate, cherry, plum, and black tea notes
Region: Kasese District, Western Uganda
Altitude: 1,400-2,200 MASL
Read our story about the champion, Stephen Kiptrotich here.