Last year I went to Bolivia for the first time and were very impressed by the nature, culture and people in general, but also the quality of their coffees impressed me.
The exported coffee volume is falling at a speed, that if the data for the last years according to the International Coffee Organisation is extrapolated then by 2019 there will be no more export from Bolivia.
At the same time Finca Takesi produced the best Geisha I ever tasted and the good people of Agricafe had a variety of flavours in their menu that ranged from delicate washed Geishas, over very clean and sweet balanced washed Caturras, and even sweeter honeys to their amazing Coco Naturals of varieties like SL28, Caturra and Java. So much interesting potential on such tragic background.
We bought our first Bolivian coffees last year and now it was time to come back and meet the people behind them again. Seeing how things were in Bolivia and talking about how their coffees were recieved in Denmark.
At Takesi they had their new mechanical demucilator up and running. They were expanding their plantings of Java. In their nusery they had a lot of Java seedlings being ready to be replanted to the lots. And the lots were being prepared for the new plantings. The lot called Chusal were going to be planted with Java.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Juvenal Quijhua, who was then the farm manager. This year he had moved on to do his own coffee business in Caranavi. Juvenals “right hand” for many years, Juan Condarco was the new manager of Takesi, picking up the responsibility beautifully.
We are in the lucky position that Takesi will have two bags of the fantastic Geisha that we can buy this year. Last year we only got 7,5 kgs which was sold out in few hours, so it will be great to be able to have it in our menu a little longer this year.
From Takesi I went to Caranavi to stay at Finca Buena Vista, the main mill of Agricafe. Having such a broad range of coffees as they have we spend a lot of time cupping their different coffees and talking about quality. At Finca Buena Vista they both process coffees from their own farms (such as Finca Don Carlos and Finca Alasitas) as well as buy cherries from small farmers. For these small farmers they have an ongoing programme called Sol de Mañana where they teach practices for raising yields and qualities. This is a way of trying to change the declining trend of exports from Bolivia.
Agricafe is a fairly new company. Pedro Rodriguez who has been working with coffee in Bolivia for more than 30 years and is one of the pioneers of Specialty Coffee in Bolivia established Agricafe 6 years ago and is running it together with his daughter Daniela Rodriguez and son Pedro Pablo Rodriguez. They are 100% committed to specialty coffee and they have a very interesting and ambitious combination of experimental and systematic approach to quality, that I think is a solid foundation for their future development. This makes them a partner that I look very much forward to follow in the future as well as work closely together with.
They grow the top varieties popular amongst leading farmers worldwide, they invest in state of the art equipment and develop known processes to such refined states that it creates unique results.
The best example of this being their “Coco Natural” which is their very carefully processed high quality Natural. Here they have gotten input from the world leading expert in drying Flavio Borem from Brazil and have made a UV-shaded drying fascility with mechanic control of the venting. Pedro Rodriguez believes that the Naturals have huge potential for the future and you can see that clearly in the level of attention to details they have in their Natural process all the way from cherry reception to the dried fruit is ready. There idea is to dehydrate the cherry instead of just drying it.
Last year we bought a small lot Coco Natural from their farm Don Carlos that we mainly used to send to our coffee subscribers and got really positive feed back on. So this year we have bought a bit more. We have bought a fantastic fruity Coco Natural made on cherries of the Java variety grown at Finca Alasitas, that we look very much forward to present.