UCU law student strives to bring more Ugandans to the coffee table
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2022/03/ucu-law-student-strives-to-bring-more-ugandans-to-the-coffee-table/
By Agatha N. Biira
To Rosette Kishero’s family, coffee is gold. It has always put bread on the table.
As early as the time when she was in secondary school, Kishero knew the value of the crop. Whenever she wanted to gift someone, nothing was more valuable than coffee. So, her gift was either a coffee seedling or coffee beans.
Recently, Kishero established a business enterprise that she hopes will enable the whole world to get a feel of the aroma of her family’s coffee. Kishero’s initial idea was to operate a nursery bed, but her mother, Olive, convinced her that it was more lucrative to roast coffee.
Thus, Olivaz Coffee, a brand named after Kishero’s mother, was born.
“I was inspired by the encouragement from people about our coffee, and yet we had never (promoted) it as our a specific brand,” said Kishero, a third-year student of Bachelor of Laws at Uganda Christian University (UCU). Prior to joining UCU, Kishero attended Nkokonjeru Primary School and Seeta High School, both in Central Uganda.
She said naming the coffee-roasting business after her mother was a reward to her for the sweat her mom broke in the coffee plantation.
“We have grown up, studied and lived because of coffee,” said Kishero, the daughter of Joseph Keith and Olive Kishero of Bulambuli, in eastern Uganda. “It has been my family’s main source of income. I wanted to keep the legacy.”
She says she was introduced to the process of branding coffee by her friends who were already in the business at Wild Coffee Bar.
“They are the ones who showed me the way; how to try out roasting, where to find roasters and grinders,” Kishero said. “To date, they still counsel and guide me.”
Kishero started the business with capital of sh500,000 (about $140) that she earned from another business she operated in 2020. She says part of that money was used for buying packaging materials for the coffee.
She owns a roasting and grinding machine, but since she lacks expertise in that process, she does the roasting and grinding at another place, where professional roasters take the beans through the “medium roast.”
“If I were to roast and grind something, I would do it for home use only,” Kishero explains. “When it comes to my customers, I want to give them top notch coffee. That’s why I go to professionals to roast and grind.”
The support Kishero got from her family has enabled her business to grow steadily. She says the law degree course that she is pursuing has helped her learn how to start and run a business.
“At the time I was beginning my business, we were starting a course unit called Business Association, where we were taught how to operate businesses and companies,” Kishero explains, adding: “So, whenever I got stuck somewhere, I consulted my lecturers and applied the knowledge they gave me to my business.”
Kishero hopes to start a Coffee Club before leaving UCU.
Time is the main barrier. Local sales is another.
Being a student, Kishero says she spends most of her time in class, leaving little time to market her coffee business.
“The entire roasting and grinding process happens on weekdays when I have classes,” she explained. “So, every time I have to go to the factory to roast, it means I will miss an entire day of classes.”
Regarding local sales and despite being the second leading producer of coffee in Africa and the leading exporter in the continent, Ugandans consume less than 10% of the country’s coffee. At that, she is hopeful that the aroma and the brand that Kishero is building around coffee will play a role in inviting more people to the beverage table.
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