Uganda's Carico Café Connoisseur is using blockchain technology to track the supply chain of the coffee it sells. The launch of Carico's premium African coffees comes at a time when consumers are demanding that the products they consume are traceable, especially when it comes to coffee, an industry that used to be known for exploitative practices.
The company's coffees originate from Uganda and include the Bugisu Blue, Bugisu Peaberry and Espresso Roast brands. Uganda is Africa’s largest coffee exporter and the seventh largest coffee exporter in the world. An estimated 1.7 million people in the east African country are coffee farmers and they produce the nation’s largest source of foreign exchange.
The blockchain certification means consumers can trace the coffee’s journey – from bean origin to shipping info – by using their smartphones to scan the product’s QR codes or via the UK certification site Provenance
According to Carico’s CEO Mwambu Wanendeya, the recent launch is the culmination of an incredible amount of work done with farmers and other partners in Uganda. "Every step of this coffee’s journey, from its growth to sale in shops and other outlets, is fully documented and traceable,” he says.
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The Bugisu Blue and Bugisu Peaberry are 100% Arabica coffees shade grown at an altitude of over 1,300 metres and 1,600 metres above sea level in rich volcanic loam soils on the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda. Carico’s coffees are hand-picked, washed and wet processed before being freshly roasted in South Africa. No fertilisers are used in the production process.
The coffees are available for sale in South Africa and the United States and online through the Carico website. They will also soon be launched in Switzerland and plans are underway to expand into additional markets in Europe.