Coffee prefers well-drained and aerated soils to a depth of at least 1.5m and 3m in drier areas. It does well in humus-rich, lightly acidic soils of pH range 4.4-5.4.
- Arabica is mainly favourable for highland areas from altitudes 1400 to 2000m above sea level with annual rainfall of not less than 1000mm. The ideal temperature range for Arabica coffee lies between 180C and 240C. As such, the favourable areas for Arabica in Uganda are the slopes of Mount Elgon in Bugishu, Kapchorwa and Bundibugyo in western Uganda. Maximum day temperatures should not exceed 30 degrees centigrade and night temperatures should not fall below 15 degrees centigrade. Where coffee is grown under conditions of minimum rainfall, mulching is essential to conserve moisture.
- Robusta on the other hand grows in low altitude areas at altitudes of between 100-800m with well-distributed annual rainfall of between 1500-1900mm. The variety is more resistant to pest infestation AND is well-adapted to warm and humid equatorial climates with average temperatures of 220C – 260C. Robusta coffee grows well in hot and humid areas, including Bukedi and the Central region.