BOLIVIA - ARCANGEL | Anaerobic Washed
Price is shown per 5kg box
Black cherry, goji berry, black forest gateau, notes of walnut jelly and a milk chocolate finish
El Arcángel was planted in 2015 and had its first harvest in 2017. One of the things that’s unique about the farm is that the red and yellow caturras were grown separately from the other varieties so that the distinctive qualities of each are preserved and highlighted in each lot. The farm gets its name from an unusually large and majestic tree that sits at the highest point of the farm appearing to observe the land from on high, resembling the protector archangel. The coffee was planted here in such a way that leads to harmonious growth and harvesting practices. It is felt to be a place of great peace; an oasis that exudes beauty and tranquillity as if watched over by a divine presence.
Bolivia general info:
Bolivia has an interesting coffee history and although it was exporting close to 85,000 bags in the early 2000s, 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 more like forests, 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.
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 1950s, 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.
Every Wednesday in Caranavi is market day and people come in from their small communities to buy basic goods to stock up for the week; it is also the main place to sell recently harvested coffee. This coffee is commercial grade and is sold as a ‘honey’: pulped but not dry to one first middleman. The traditional supply chain structure in Bolivian includes many middlemen until the coffee gets exported and selling their coffee to the Wednesday market in Caranavi is most of the time the only option for producers to sell their commercial crop.