About the Bean
Bolivian coffee is exceptional, but there isn't much of it right now. In the early 2000s, the U.S government via USAID sought to create an alternative for farmers who, at the time, primarily grew coca. Heaps of coffee trees were planted at this time and the Bolivian coffee industry flourished once the trees matured and bore fruit. Somewhere around 2008, production began to drop precipitously and it seems unlikely that coffee production in Bolivia will ever fully recover.
There are a few theories as to why production has dropped. To our knowledge, the biggest reason farmers are turning away from growing coffee is the fact that growing coca is simply easier and more lucrative right now. Bolivia is also a unique coffee origin in that it is completely landlocked, which means shipping coffee can be very expensive. Additionally, workers are moving into the cities and away from rural areas, but this is not a problem unique to Bolivia by any means.
The silver lining to this story is that the farmers who have stuck around and continue to produce coffee are benefiting from some of the most incredible terroirs in the entire world for coffee growing. The coffee producing region of Yungas grows coffee at extreme altitudes, which results in a slowly ripening and complex cherry.
Illimani is a colony nestled right in this perfect coffee growing area. Several small sized farmers pool their cherries together to create a coffee that is truly representative of the region with elegant and complex flavours that can only be developed in the mountains of Yungas. Illimani is the ultimate treat, a rare expression of a region that few coffee drinkers are allowed to experience.
Can’t narrow it down?
Why not try a tasting kit of 4 of our favourite seasonal coffees.