At the start of October, I participated in a virtual cupping with Steampunk Coffee. One of the coffees I got to try was from Uganda, which was perhaps the most distinct between all of the five coffees on the table. The coffee reminded me of tropical fruit, a characteristic I had not tasted in coffee up until that session.
The Ugandan coffee was called Bukonzo Dream. Steampunk picked this coffee to be their “Christmas coffee,” a practice popular among speciality coffee roasters. The coffee has been on sale for a few weeks and the name has a story behind it. A team member at the importer from whom Steampunk sourced this coffee had a dream to visit the United Kingdom. Bukonzo refers to the people of the Bukonzo tribe who have been growing and picking coffee in the region for generations.
Bukonzo Dream is not from a single farm, rather a group of smallholders who sell their beans to a local buying station owned by Agri-Evolve. This buying station educates farmers on how to grow speciality coffee, helping them attain a higher price for their beans. Smallholder coffee growing is incredibly common in Uganda; most speciality coffee is traceable to at least a producer’s group or a co-op.
Uganda is not as known for its speciality coffee as it is for Robusta. The cultivation of Arabica coffee began in the early 1900s, but Arabica has always remained a small portion of national production. This is changing, and Bukonzo Dream makes it clear that Uganda has some interesting coffees to offer.
The scent of ground Bukonzo Dream beans reminds me of strawberries and cream, with a hint of pineapple. This aroma emerged during the brewing process. To start, I could smell a lot of pineapple, and later the more subtle strawberries and cream became prevalent. As I sat down to start drinking the cup, I was enticed by the strawberry and cream aroma, as if I was not already excited enough about trying a new coffee.
My first few sips of this coffee had heavy pineapple notes. This coffee has an acidic bite, but it is still not as acidic as a Kenyan peaberry I had a month or two ago. Pineapple was a prominent flavour throughout the cup. As the cup cooled, I noted more strawberry flavours. These flavours were especially clear toward the end of the cup. To accompany these flavours, the coffee had a heavy body; chewy and full.
Bukonzo Dream is a sweet coffee, so much so that on my first taste of this coffee I said “Oh wow, this coffee is deliciously sweet.” It sounds a bit corny but that is indeed what I said, even though nobody else was in the room. I love sweet coffees.
This coffee is unusual. Pineapple and strawberry are very different flavours. I found myself noting down “tropical fruit” because this coffee is very complex and I feel there is more to it. On my second cup, I started to think there is a bit of passion fruit in the coffee and the finish. Even though the coffee is complex, I find the flavours go well together.
In terms of the finish, Bukonzo Dream lingers on the tongue, leaving tropical fruit notes.
Bukonzo Dream is not my ideal coffee. This is down to my tastes. I am not a big fan of tropical fruit flavours, although I do love the strawberry side of this coffee. Indeed, the best coffees I’ve had are those with berry flavours. But I did still thoroughly enjoy this coffee and I look forward to my next cup. This coffee opened my eyes – as it did when I first tasted it during the aforementioned cupping session – to the diversity of flavours in coffee, an experience I find to be growing in frequency.
You can read about Bukonzo Dream on the Steampunk website.
About This Coffee
Varietal: SL28, SL14
Tastes: Pineapple, passion fruit, strawberries and cream