In 2019 we took a handful of people to go meet our cacao sourcing partners in the Dominican Republic. This marked the start of Origin Adventures: carefully curated life-changing trips to meet our cacao and coffee sourcing partners. Participants learn about the importance of a transparent supply chain, and have incredible adventures along the way.
This year in late January we took a group of 27 guests to go and meet both our cacao and coffee farming partners in Uganda. It was an absolutely incredible trip that gave participants a hands-on look into direct trade and the importance of a transparent supply chain. Beyond just the taste of chocolate and coffee, we wanted to show trip participants how chocolate and coffee can bring people together to create community and foster a better understanding of each other and the world as a whole.
We wanted to do our best to share the experiences we had with you through the many photos we captured during the trip, highlighting some of our favorite moments. We hope this trip recap inspires you to get excited about the world opening up again, and the possibility of new adventures.
Day 1: Orientation and Chimp Sanctuary on Lake Victoria
Headed to the chimp sanctuary island on Lake Victoria
Day 2: Journey to Crater Lakes & Hike
One of our guides Mohammed in front of the Land Cruisers we rode in
We travelled to the Crater Lakes in Queen Elizabeth National Park then hiked down to one of the lakes
Day 3: Latitude Cocoa Farms and Collection Points
Moka guests joined our cacao partner Latitude Cacao and then teamed up with local cacao farmers to harvest pods, then split them open to remove the beans. After harvesting they bring the cacao to collection points to be sold.
Impromptu yoga session with local school children
Impromptu chocolate tasting because it's always a good time to taste chocolate
Day 4: Village Tours
"Banana Man" makes various drinks using bananas
A village of basket-weaving women do a celebratory song and dance
Enjoying the company of local coffee farmer who roasts beans that she grew
Day 5: Chimp Tracking and Safari
Chimp tacking in Kabale Forest National Park
A baby chimp clings to its mother
Chimp tracking completion and safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Winding down with a fireside chat
Day 6: Latitude Fermentation Center and Kazinga Channel Boat Safari
Faraji "turns" cacao beans at Latitude Fermentation Center. This is crucial to the fermentation process.
Farmers unloading and fermenting cacao at Latitude. We even planted cacao trees!
An elephant wades through the water in the Kazinga Channel using its trunk as a snorkel
A baby hippo observes us while sitting next to its mother
Day 7: Coffee Farming Partner Bukonzo Joint Coffee Coop
Jeff stands next to John, Bukonzo Joint Coop's coffee quality expert
Local farmers sort through coffee picking out any flawed beans. The beans are then shipped to us, where we roast them at our roastery.
We do a coffee "cupping" with the Bukonzo Joint Coop team
Day 8: Latitude Chocolate Factory and Craft Market
Latitude Craft Chocolate factory in Kampala City
We got a hands-on chocolate making experience, then ate lunch at Latitude's delicious partner restaurant
Members of the Moka team with the Latitude production team
We did some shopping at the local market in Kampala! Local artists holding up their works of art.
Day 9: White Water Rafting on the Nile River
Rafting on the Nile was quite the experience! Most groups' boats flipped, tossing its passengers overboard - that was part of the fun!
Day 10: Vanilla Farm Visit and Departure Day
Farmers sort and bundle their vanilla. We use this farm's vanilla in our white chocolate bar.
The vanilla farming team got to taste white chocolate made with their vanilla. A full circle experience for them and for us.
Part of the group at the airport getting ready to depart
The trip of a lifetime
Ultimately the trip was an incredible adventure full of coffee, chocolate, education, and fun! We're extremely grateful for the good work that both of our Ugandan farming partners do. We especially want to thank the Latitude team for being such good hosts and making the trip logistics seamless.
By going on this trip, we hope our guests gained a better sense of the importance of a fair and transparent supply chain. Meeting the farmers behind the Ugandan chocolate and coffee that we make was truly a full-circle experience that will always stick with us.
We'll be sharing more photos from this trip soon as well as some exciting video content. Thanks to our very own Faraji Starks for taking such incredible photos and to Prashant Dault for capturing the trip through video. Stay tuned for a deep-dive into our experience at Latitude's farming operations as well as how you can participate in future Origin Adventure trips.
Jeff Steinburg, CEO of Latitude with Jeff Abella, CEO of Moka Origins