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Zukuka Bora has a very special relationship with Commonfolk. It is a social enterprise that exists to empower farming communities, and return sustainable and regenerative enterprise to the Mt Elgon coffee region. It was, and continues to be, funded by Commonfolk’s initiative The Cup That Counts. We contribute 20c from every coffee we sell towards the initiative and this has helped Zukuka Bora purchase demonstration farms, build processing centres, buy machinery, and provide training and employment to more than six coffee farming communities around Mt Elgon. When Commonfolk helped purchase the initial plot of land for the demonstration farm in 2014 no one could have imagined the impact that Zukuka Bora would have on the Mt Elgon community.

Their first official harvest was in 2015 and yielded approximately 250kg of washed arabica coffee. The quality was below specialty and only a small group of farmers contributed. Fast forward to the 2021/22 harvest and Zukuka Bora anticipates over 200 tons of specialty grade cherry with cupping scores ranging from mid 80s all the way up to 88-89 SCA points. It will also include the only honey processed coffees from Mt Elgon, some incredibly high quality naturals and most excitingly some experimental lots created by Commonfolk’s own roasting team.

Over the past few seasons, Zukuka Bora have gained a reputation for the quality of their experimental processing methods. They produce some of the only honey and natural processed coffees in Uganda. They’ve also been working with extended oxygen deprived fermentation in an effort to add value to the farmers coffee, with last years offering achieving the highest price in the ‘Pearl of Africa’ auction. 

Our own roastery team have helped run experiments involving intervention fermentations using various brewers yeasts with particular success working with the yeast used to make champagne. This year we’ve been working with natural fermentations that include local fruits such as pineapple and passionfruit mixed with the pulped coffee seeds. Can you imagine that - a coffee that tastes like pineapple and passionfruit!

While Zukuka Bora is still a young producer, they have recently acquired a large plot of land in the township of Mbale. Not only does this site hold the largest parabolic dryers in Eastern Uganda, they have built adequate storage sheds, a processing and cupping lab, and have plans for a roastery cafe. In an exciting recent development they have been able to purchase a small farm and wet mill in Sipi using funds donated by Australian partners. There are more plans for future investment by expanding the three processing facilities they have already built [in Wanale, Muyanda and Sipi] and potentially purchasing land in Bududa, further demonstrating their longterm commitment to the communities they work with.

We wouldn’t be surprised if we see a World Barista Champion working with a Zukuka Bora coffee in the near future. They are committed to producing the highest quality coffee while changing the communities they work with at the same time. We’ve used Zukuka Bora coffee’s in just about every espresso blend we run from boutique custom blends through to our famous stalwarts Progress St and Godfather. We’ve also featured multiple Zukuka Bora microlots as single origins including Sipi Falls, Jose Chameleon, The Unicorn, and the newest region Zukuka is working with - Bulaago. Zukuka Bora is bringing hope back to Mt Elgon one great cup of coffee at a time.