SMALL BATCH SPOTLIGHT: MOUNT ELGON UGANDA ORGANIC
FEBRUARY’S LIMITED RELEASE SMALL BATCH COFFEE
Long-time Peet’s fans, get excited. Here’s a rare opportunity to experience an impeccable microlot from smallholder farms in Uganda. It’s balanced and juicy, with interesting floral notes in the aroma as well as the cup. If this sounds like the perfect coffee to enjoy as we dream of warmer days, load up. Mount Elgon Uganda Organic is this month’s Small Batch Subscription coffee-of-the-month, but any subscriber can add this limited release coffee onto their upcoming shipment. And it’s a perfect “first box” if you’ve been debating subscribing.
WE’RE ALL ABOUT GREAT COFFEE
And what we celebrate here is great Uganda coffee; this lot is from Mount Elgon, the premier growing region of washed and organic arabica coffees. The transit from Uganda is long and difficult, so getting our hands on a batch this impressive is a treat. We tasted it, and we really liked it (to be honest, we loved it). Aromatic and sweet like its neighbor, Kenya, but with a character all its own. In the Cupping Room, its notes of honey and melon were a talking point, along with “graham cracker crust,” “sweet pastry,” and “brioche.” Of particular note was the finish—lingering with notes of dry cocoa.
BEAUTIFUL COFFEE FROM BEAUTIFUL FARMERS
The focus of a coffee story will often land on the estate, or the co-op, or the process. With this small lot Uganda, we emphasize our belief in smallholder farmers. Small is big around here. Sometimes our relationships with coffee farmers go back decades. What’s important is that long term connection … that we're patronizing them and paying a premium year after year, so that they can continue to grow beautiful coffee and maximize their profits. Ugandan farms are already ahead of the game because of their soil and climate. Along with that comes the nicest, most friendly, loving people in the world. Smallholder lots like these show the tie between the beauty of the people, the beauty of the coffee, and the beauty of the landscape. So, in this way we celebrate smallholder farmers, and we celebrate organic coffee. Small really can be big.
NOTES FROM THE PEET’S ROASTERY
Upon arriving to the Roastery in their green state, the washed Ugandan beans were small-to-medium sized and light green in color. With a glossy surface and some silver skin still present, we saw some odd sized beans and a few peaberries—no real defects. The smell was sweet and fresh, with a hay-like herbal undercurrent.
We weren’t sure what to expect with this Ugandan microlot, but the beans responded well to burner cuts, and it was easy to finish consistently. It was nice and friendly, not seeming to mind if we kept the heat on while we were testing roast levels. That friendliness expressed itself as chatter: first crack was sharp, surprisingly loud, and built up steadily to consensus. The increase in the popping gave reliable cues to reduce heat for higher or lower roast levels. We love it when the beans communicate with us so readily, and this Ugandan coffee was sturdy, responsive, and easy to roast.
The roast aromatics had hints of malt and some sweet fruit rind. In the cup it’s bright and malty with notes of cocoa powder, brioche, and white grape. Our test roasts cooled nicely and maintained complexity, retaining some of that Ugandan soft melon sweetness. We’ll be brewing—and drinking—this by the potful.
-John Nicolini and Michael Madden, Roasters
PEET’S LIMITED RELEASE COFFEES
You might think that a monthly coffee subscription sounds amazing in and of itself, but Peet’s coffee-of-the-month takes it a step further than most. Good things come in small packages, and we only get these coffees in small batches, which is why you can only find them at peets.com and you can only access them if you have a subscription. They’re special—their fleeting nature means they can sell out—fast. So subscribing guarantees you get to taste each one of these incredibly special lots.