Our one and only blend! When I started Hillside Coffee back in 2020 I was very out of love with blends, I felt like they were all pretty boring and they mostly tasted the same.
Now almost two years down the line and after ALOT of experimenting I’m bringing out an espresso blend that I’m actually happy with!
When as espresso, you can expect a complex coffee with a fruity cherry flavour to start off that melts into allspice with a rich molasses sweetness. When you add milk you can expect a rich chocolate taste with dried fruits and spices hiding in the background.
The current iteration of the blend is half each of these gorgeous coffees:
- Planalto da Bahia, Brazil, Washed
- Rwenzori, Uganda, Natural
Planalto da Bahia Washed
Planalto da Bahia is a large plateau located into Caatinga’s biome, which caracterized by been very arid with high temperatures and very little precipitation per year. This biome covers a big part of northeast side of Brazil. Planalto da Bahia by its turn is an oasis in the middle of semi arid land; altitude is higher and climate pattern is cooler and wetter. Coffee arrived in this region about 45 years ago and since then it remains a very importante product within the region. The moist microclimate affects coffee trees behavior, production cyle, harvesting, processing methods and post harvest care. The extended rainy season, led trees to have multiple flowerings and thus harvesting must be done selectively to maximize the production of washed material which is region’s vocation. The terroir combined with selective hand picking and adapted post harvest care plays a crucial role for defining region’s cup profile which is sweeter and more complex than in other regions.
The farmer is known as Wanderlan by its peers, he has a long story related to coffee. It was his grandfther that first instiled the passion for coffee in his veins at very young age when in 1975 he planted the first plot of coffee with 50.000 trees. Since that moment his desired was to become a coffee grower, then his mother inherit a piece of his granfther’s land and Wanderlan could finally materialize his dream and took a solo flight.
Formosa farm is placed within the limits of Poções’ town at heart of Planalto da Bahia pleteau. Besides the favorable micro climate, he believes that what makes his coffees unique is the process; ripe cherries are manually and sellectivelly picked, then cleaned, washed and de-pulped, after that parchments goes to fermentation tanks where it remain resting for 24 hours to cleared out the mucilage without the risk of undersirable fermentation. After the washing process, the parchaments are taken to be dried outside the farm in a diferente region called “caatinga” – predominant biome in this region – where almost never rains, air moisture are low and temps remain above 30o degrees celcius, it is sundried only.
The magnificent Rwenzori Mountains, famously known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’, stretch for 120km along Western Uganda and are home to the Bakonzo tribe. The high altitude, fer- tile soils and plentiful rainfall provide perfect conditions for grow- ing coffee trees beans, while the pristine snow-capped peaks and the glaciers give rise to many rivers.
The Rwenzori region has a long coffee tradition. With on average 2 acres, Bakonzo farmers work manually, with the help of the whole family, and traditionnally group together to process the cherries. Coffee is a source of incomes that allows them support their fam- ilies and improve their homes. While farmers traditionnally sell parchments and kibokos (dried cherries), more and more choose to sell the freshly-picked red cherries to washing-stations. This en- ables farmers to access quick payment for coffee, and takes away the risk of drying coffee for the farmer, many of whom are not well equipped to dry coffee.
Located 25km southwest of Kasese, in the Kisinga Trading Center, Kisinga Coffee Station > was built in 2015 with one purpose: explore the full potential of Rwenzori’s arabica coffee, and support farmers improving their yields, their profits and subsequently their living conditions.
In response to the growing number of farmers delivering their cherries to the washing station, Agri Evolve and Kyagalanyi built a second washing station in 2019, in Bugoye >, north of the Kasese district.
Instead of just focusing on the processing of the cherries, Jonny from Agri Evolve and his team mobilised the whole community to take a vested interest in coffee production: from empowering farmers in the care of the coffee trees - with the implementation of the Volcafe Way program - to the importance of picking only red cherries, or implementing basics social benefits helping the workers in the long-run. Employees of Agri Evolve benefit from an health insurance, a pension plan and receive their wages on a bank account (this practice - which helps building up savings - is not common in Uganda)
The success of the project relies on the deep-rooted commitment to economic sustainability with a clear commercial view, not just a charitable one. As Jonny says: “The best way to help the communi- ty is to buy their coffee!"