Pink Flowers, Fruity Aromas, Apricots, Lemon Verbena
AWARD WINNING COFFEE.
We are proud to serve this Bolivian Los Rodriguez collection 2020
Packed with flavours
This Coffee is roasted to just past 1st crack which brings out the beautiful in cup flavours of this coffee.
Please read the 'lot detail' tab below to find out more about this special coffee.
Process: Fermented Washed
In the Cup: PINK FLOWERS, FRUITY AROMA, APRICOT HONEY SWEETNESS, LEMON VERBENA AND BUTTER BISCUIT FINISH
Grown: CARANAVI, BOLIVIA
Altitude: 1,550 MASL
Producers: LOS RODRIGUEZ
Bolivia has an interesting coffee history and although it was exporting close to 85,000 bags in the early 2000, Bolivian coffees almost disappeared at the end of the last decade. In 2018, only 23,300 bags were exported. A tiny portion of these were sold as Specialty grade.
The reasons for this are multiple but the main one was the coffee rust that hit the coffee regions very hard and decimated many farms. After that big loss, and after the decision of the government to allow the production of coca in some districts of Bolivia, many producers decided to start growing coca leaves (the base ingredient in the preparation of cocaine) instead of coffee. Coca is a lot more profitable than coffee per hectare and you can harvest it about 5 times a year which gives income to the producers and their family throughout the year.
A lot of the coffee in the country has been traditionally grown under organic conditions. However, the lack of knowledge and training led to farms that look completely more like forest, with coffee trees that carry very few leaves and even less cherries. Many of the producers think that organic farming means: not to do anything in your parcel than harvesting. That also contributed to the big drop in production.
It’s therefore very difficult to find Specialty coffees from Bolivia these days.
Bolivian coffee harvest runs from April (below 1,000 masl) to October (up to 2,000 masl).
Caranavi known as the capital of coffee is located in the lush forest of the Yungas region. This is where the famous Death Road follows the Andes Mountains from the dry Altiplano to the lush green forest of the Amazon jungle. All the exportable products from the region have to travel this treacherous road to be processed and exported from La Paz. In the 50s’ the government gave parcels of 10 hectares of tropical land to people and as a consequence, many people moved to Caranavi region and became farmers. This unique region has two climates and is home to the most fertile soil and consequently where the majority of coffee in Bolivia is produced nowadays. However, producers only plant 2 to 4 hectares of their plots with coffee trees, the rest remaining wild forest.
Agricafe is owned by the Rodriguez family who started this business in 1986. At that time, the family used to rent wet mills in Caranavi region, buying cherries from 2,000 producers and in 2001 they built their current wet mill, called Buena Vista, in Caranavi. Very quickly a dry mill in la Paz was built and the family started exporting operations. In 2012, a few years after the national drop of production, they decided to buy land and start farming as well. They now have 8 farms in Caranavi region (60 ha) and 5 farms in Samaipata region (60 ha). This year, they have lost 2ha of farm in Samaipata because of heavy rains leading to landslides. Up to 300 people are working for the company at the peak season. They also hire agronomists from different countries as consultants every year. They produce coffee, process it at the wet mill then dry mill and export it themselves directly to us. They bet on a great vertical integration system to shorten the supply chain and make it more transparent and cost efficient. In 2019, the won the SCA Sustainability award in the category ‘Best Sustainable Business Model’.
Aside from experimenting a lot on the processing, the family is also investing a lot in agronomy research doing some trials with grafting and using different varieties (over 50). After a few years now they realised that the best results in the cup/field were given by Java and Geisha grafted on Robusta root systems. They are therefore already renovating some of their parcels with these plants.
An oenologist from Argentina is managing the wet mill this season and they are experimenting yeast use in processing.
The naturals and honeys (honeys are only prepared upon demand) dry on beds for a week before they are placed into mechanical dryers that recreate day/night light to ensure a low and consistent drying without rain issues. More beds have been built this year; every single bed has its own tunnel with plastic sheet to cover in case of rain. Although it rained a lot before the harvest (7,000 mm instead of usual 2,500mm), the weather during the harvest has been really good and it’s been easier to produce naturals this year.
When they reached 12% MC and after a few hours of resting, all coffee is bagged with Ecotact and Jute/plastic bags and sent to the dry mill in La Paz with sample bags on the side. The lots sit there in parchment until they are prepared for export.
After milling, cupping and after making sure the moisture content is around 10%, the coffee is bagged in Ecotact and jute bags before being exported through Arica port in Chile.
The Rodriguez family has also started a training program called Sol de la Mañana:
51 producers are now part of the program and are trained by the Agricafe team to produce more and better coffee with their existing farms: personalised visits, recommendations and technical support. A school farm has also been created to show all agronomy good practices to producers. Neighbours who are not part of the program started copying the techniques and are also improving their farms. As a result of that, many producers’ kids have studied agronomy / biology / soil dynamic, etc. and are planning to come back and manage the farm with their parents. All those producers deliver cherries (in 75% of the cases) or parchment (when producers’ farms are located too far and can’t deliver cherries the same day they harvest them) to Buena Vista Mill.
These farmers also get a premium paid when they deliver their cherries to the wet mill and can get the transport refunded (most of the producers hire taxis to take their harvest of the day down to the wet mill).
Yields have tripled since the farms are in the program. They have, in average around 4-5 ha planted with coffee on a 10-12 ha total land. Coffee farming is very much a family business and very few producers hire external labor.
This lot is made of 100% Java from La Linda and Kusillo The farms are located in Caranavi, between 1,500 and 1,650 masl with native trees shade and patches of wild forest to help conserve the biodiversity in the farms.
La Linda was the very first farm the Rodriguez family started in 2012 and its name means “the beautiful one” in Spanish.
The cherries have been harvested and taken to the Buena Vista mill on the same day of the harvest.
This lot is a washed lot and the cherries have been processed at the Buena Vista mill including an anaerobic dry fermentation step of 42 hours after pulping the cherries. The parchment was then dried in mechanical dryers until it reached 12% of moisture content. This takes about 2 weeks
The mechanical dryers are big drums heated up with wood logs, gas or electricity depending on the drum. When on sunbeds, coffee is moved every 30 min in the morning and every hour in the afternoon. When on the boxes, coffee is moved every hour. The temperature in the mechanical dryers never goes over 40 degrees Celsius and moisture content and temperature are controlled at all time with meters.
ESPRESSO (18G VST)
in 28 to 31 seconds
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