BOLIVIA FTO – Bolivia is South America’s only landlocked coffee producing country and is the smallest exporter of coffee on the continent. The quality of that coffee, however, is
hardly lacking in diversity or beauty. Bolivia’s terrain and geography is gifted for arabica production, particularly throughout its greater Yungas region (Yungas is Aymara for “warm lands”), whose mountain ranges connect the low and humid Amazonian basin to the dry Andean altiplano above. The most productive municipality in the Yungas is by far Caranaví, where 85-90% of Bolivia’s specialty coffee has continued to thrive over the decades. Caranaví’s landscape is steep, cloudy, rugged, and remote, with natural forest making up more than 90% of the territory. Coffee farms in this high and tropical climate tend to be well-managed but small.
Biodiversity, soil health, elevation, and progressive leadership in San Juan all work undeniably in favor of small farmers. Yet, facing each and every Bolivian coffee, especially the best ones, is one of the most strenuous overland transits in the coffee world, passing elevations of 4000 meters over the top of the Andes and west to the port of Arica on Chile’s coast. San Juan coop relies on individual farmers to process their own coffee. Felix Chambi Garcia has made quality control central to the coop’s operations, and his lab in Alto Cochabamba serves as the central control point for all the coffee arriving from the 40 fincas who are members. Parchment lots that don’t make the minimum requirement are sold domestically. Coffee cherry is picked exclusively ripe, floated to sort by density, depulped on small mechanical depulpers, and fermented 18-24 hours. Once fermentation is complete the parchment is washed clean in narrow basins and sundried on raised screen beds.
Grower: Cooperativa San Juan
Region: Caranavi, La Paz, Bolivia
Variety: Typica, Caturra and Catuai
Altitude: 1500 masl
Process: fully washed and sun dried
Tasting Notes: caramel, tangerine, cashew, chocolate
Degree of Roast: 2-3