Wedged in-between the coffee powerhouses of Brazil, Peru and Colombia, it is very easy to overlook the small, landlocked nation of Bolivia, but doing so would mean missing out on unique and exciting flavours that can only be found in the shade of the commanding Andean mountains. Bolivia has never been known for producing very much coffee, but the situation has become increasingly dire in recent years. A large reason why Bolivian coffee production has dropped 70% in the last 10 years is that farmers are turning to other crops instead of growing coffee, namely coca. Truthfully, coca is much more profitable and relatively easy to grow compared to coffee. But there is a consequence: coca production is devastating for the soil in Bolivia, leaving the land infertile and often unusable for growing other crops. Furthurmore, the emergence of roya in 2013, devastated the Bolivia coffee sector, causing many farms to either be abandoned or converted to coca plantations.
Despite all these challenges, exporters and producers such as Agricafe are fighting to preserve high quality, specialty coffee in Bolivia. The Rodriguez family have put in a – frankly - herculean effort to plant several new farms, such as Alasitas, as well as create some very effective and noteworthy producer training programs, which offer agricultural support to dozens of fledgling coffee producers in Bolivia. It is not hyperbolic to suggest that without groups like the Rodriguez family, coffee in Bolivia might completely disappear. For 30 years the multi-generational Rodriguez family has helped refocus Bolivia’s coffee sector towards specialty coffee, and this effort is the reason why we are able to offer coffees as special and transcendent as this Java from the Alasitas farm in Caravani.
Java is an amazing variety of coffee with a very recognizable name. As you might assume, this strain originates from the island of Java, Indonesia where it was planted by the Dutch in the early 19th century. This was one of coffee’s first forays out of its home in Ethiopia, and this coffee shows its Ethiopian origins in the cup, with exciting floral and fruity flavors similar to other Ethiopian landrace varieties such as Geisha and Yersi. Java was introduced to Central American farms in the early 90’s because it showed some promise in countering the CBD disease, which is massively damaging to African coffees and could result in catastrophe if it were to spread to South America. However, when the variety was planted in high elevation, the exotic flavour became immediately noticeable. Now Java is primarily sought after for its high cup quality when grown at high altitude, but the variety is still very rare.
Under the stewardship of the Rodriguez family this Java shows its full potential with incredibly exciting and rare flavours. Java excels when it is grown at high elevation, and this is Bolivia’s defining characteristic, making this truly one of the most special and electrifying coffees we have ever offered