A Sustainable May: Community Projects in Uganda & Sacramento


Sustainability Impact at Origin

The Temple Coffee Roasters sustainability guidelines require efforts from both our local Sacramento community and our producing partners (for more on Temple Coffee’s view of “local” click here). For May, we would like to focus on an on-going project we have been involved in for 4 years: developing Gorilla Summit Coffee in Kanungu, Uganda.

One may mention Kanungu when speaking of the tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park or tracking mountain gorillas in the Ugandan side of the Biwindi National Forest. Kanungu sits in a magical place, nestled right between both. This area has been largely unexplored by the Specialty Coffee sector until now.

Four years ago, Gerald Mbabazi contacted me for assistance and guidance in bringing his project to life: Specialty Coffee from his village. The area of Kanungu and its surrounding districts has been producing coffee for generations. Historically, all of the coffee has been sold to middlemen for $0.03 – $0.05 per pound and due to its low quality was labeled as “non-exportable: local consumption only”.

Our involvement with Gorilla Summit’s work over the past four years resulted in a drastic increase in cherry quality. Farmers are now paid $0.23 – $0.34 per pound and we are looking to export our first coffees to the United States this year.

Gorilla Summit’s work is in producing coffee, however increasing quality (and therefore the price they fetch) goes far beyond coffee itself. Through the process of increasing the quality of coffee we have also addressed education, agricultural practices, social (family) dynamics, quality of living, and working infrastructure. By addressing these issues, we are able to pay a more livable wage to farmers and offer indirect support of Mbabazi’s other projects such as clean well water, and higher education (building schools, even one accredited university) for his community.


Here is a brief outline of events over the past four years:

· 2012/2013 – Opened Gorilla Summit Coffee
• Purchased land for factory and began building
• Purchased a disk pulper from India
• Designed the wet mill
• Purchased a coffee huller
• Coffees cupped at • Eton visited in February 2013
• Met with local coffee farmers, cupped together, gave feedback
• Farmers knew how to produce quality, but needed money and did not receive much of a premium for quality
• Created infrastructure to keep all lots of coffee/cherries separate

· 2013/2014 – Gorilla Summit Coffee factory complete
• Began training for farmers to pick only red cherries
• Created collection points throughout the area.
• Floating and hand picking cherries before processing.
• Paying premium for red cherries (800 – 1000 UGX or $0.50-$0.75 /kilo)
• Began test runs for processing October/November 2013.
• First coffees cupping 79-82

· 2014/2015 – Eton visit in February
• Processed one small batch of cherries
• Wet and Dry fermentation tests
• Demonstrated how to wash the coffees after fermentation
• Demonstrated how to density separate after fermentation
• Demonstrated how to tend to drying beds
• Instructed in how to produce natural coffees

· 2015/2016 – Implemented processing techniques from 2014
• Hired Peter from Kenya to help manage the mill
• Processed 13.5 bags of parchment (about four 60kg export bags) cupping 85-87 from the October – November harvest
• Processed two bags of natural coffee (about 50-75Lbs export) cupping 87-88



Sustainabilty Impact in Our Community

We’re excited to begin a relationship with the Workforce Development team of Goodwill Industries in the Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada area. Through their specialized job placement training, Goodwill helps program participants in resume building, general service skills, and industry specific training based on the participant’s interests. Goodwill reached out to us earlier this year to help develop their cafe/coffee house program. After a few initial meetings, we have created an outline for a cafe-specific job training program:

-Barista program curriculum creation consultation
-Provide hands-on training to Goodwill’s in-house cafe trainer
-Help to understand customer service standards and barista etiquette
-Advise Goodwill on purchasing discounted equipment
-Temple to provide coffee at a discount
-Provide technical support for equipment suggested to purchase
-Interview up to five program participants upon completion of program
-Provide feedback to Goodwill on referred participants

In short, we will help Goodwill build a cafe education program. After participants complete the coursework, they will then gain hands-on experience by working in Goodwill’s in-house cafe that we will have helped setup. This experience will build their resume to better their chances at landing a job at coffee house like Temple.

Our partnership is currently in the initial stages and we’re excited to get the program off the ground. It will provide us with a great opportunity to impact a different sector of our community and share our service and coffee experience with people who have interest in our industry.