David Farley of The Gadling (owned by AOL) is calling Omwani Coffee “The Best Cup In Uganda.” The coffee is grown on site, where it’s harvested, roasted, and hand-ground by the members of the Kyambura Women’s Coffee Cooperative.
The Omwani Blend is comprised of 70% Robusta and 30% Arabica coffee. Nicole Simmons, the founder of the cooperative who originally moved to Uganda to study chimpanzees, explains to Mr. Farley:
“It’s perfectly okay,” says Simmons. “Robusta is indigenous to this area. We do a lot of quality control and so this means we can either do a very good robusta or a mediocre Arabica.”
Under Idi Amin, coffee was Uganda’s leading export, but today many former plantations grow cotton, seen as a more profitable cash crop. An old coffee bean warehouse is now the lodge dining room and lounge, whose terrace, like all rooms, overlooks the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and, in the distance, the snow capped Rwenzori Mountains.
The concept of tying in ecotourism to coffee production is a hot topic in East Africa; we had our own grand designs for opening “Uncle Sprudgie’s Lake Kivu Wet Mill Barista Stage” during our trip to Rwanda in 2012. It appears the folks at Kyambura Gorge Lodge have sort of almost accomplished this feat, what with the close proximity of Omwani, but we’d love to know if there are more places like this. Get at us on Twitter or in the comments down below if you know of other similar set-ups.