Coffee Origins: Bolivia – Bolivia has outstanding coffees and does so in small currently l numbers. The country’stotal output is comparable to one of Brazil’s largest coffee farms.
Coffee production is declining yearly, and coffee farms are leaving alarmingly. Bolivian coffees (exceptionally superb ones) may be available soon vanish.
Unfortunately, little information on introducing coffee and the history of coffee production in Bolivia is accessible.
There is evidence of significant coffee production in the nation dating back to the 1880s, but not much more. The country is enormous, comparable to Ethiopia or Colombia in size.
It is landlocked, which has traditionally posed a difficulty to coffee export, adding time and expense to the process.
Bolivia is a relatively unpopulated country, having a population of about 10.5 million people.
The population is frequently described as impoverished, with around a quarter of the people living in extreme poverty. Minerals are natural gas is essential to the country’s economy. However, coffee has never played a significant role.
The influence of coca cultivated for the drug trade on the economy and agriculture is difficult to ignore. Farmers are rapidly converting from coffee to coca because the price of coca is less volatile, providing more excellent stability for farmers.
While coffee prices were high in 2010 and 2011, anti-drug programs financed by Bolivia and the United States were able to persuade more farmers to convert to coffee farming. The cost of coffee, on the other hand, is relatively high.
Bolivia has perfect growth conditions for coffee in many respects. The necessary height is present, and the climate clearly defines rainy and dry seasons.
Most coffee farmed here are Typica and Caturra, which are old heirloom varietals. Bolivia has recently produced some excellent, straightforward, and complex coffees. However, this has not always been the case.
Producers used to select and pulp their coffees before transporting them to a central processing center. There were two major issues: first, temperature fluctuations on the way to the processing site could cause the coffee to freeze.
Second, the pulp still had enough moisture to keep the fermentation. This frequently resulted in a loss of quality or the introduction of unpleasant flavors.
Quality-conscious producers are increasingly performing post-harvest operations on their farms. As part of its anti-drugs drives, the US has supported building several small coffee-washing facilities across the country.
Despite changes improving quality, Bolivian coffees still don’t have the same reputation as coffees from neighboring countries like Colombia or Brazil.
Competitions like The Cup of Excellence have helped to highlight Bolivia’s top coffees. I advocate going out of your way to find and enjoy them while you can. Even though specialty coffee yields a higher return, even quality-conscious growers are abandoning coffee production.
In Bolivia, coffee can be traced back to a single farm or cooperative. Large-scale land ownership has decreased since 1991 due to land reforms, and the 23,000 families that grow coffee in Bolivia do it on tiny farms of 1.2–8 hectares (3–20 acres). Bolivia’s exports are handled by a small number of private exporting enterprises (about thirty).
The best Bolivian coffees tend to be very sweet and clean, but relatively rarely are they particularly fruity.
Number of 60kg (132lb) bags in 2016: 81,000
Coffee-growing regions in Bolivia have never been strongly deĀned, and, as such, different roasters will use other naming conventions to describe which part of the country the coffee comes from.
Approximately 95 percent of Bolivia’s coffee is produced in this region, and the past, it held a reputation for quality in Europe, though less so recently.
It can be defined as the region of forest stretching down the east side of the Andes and in fact, crosses from Peru through Bolivia into Argentina
. The area produces some of the highest-altitude coffee in the world, where coffee has been grown the longest in Bolivia. In his 1935 book, All About Coffee, Ukers refers to coffee from here as ‘Yunga.’
Yungas is west of La Paz, so many coffee buyers must travel along the famous Yungas Road, nicknamed the ‘Road of Death,’ to reach the coffee producers there.
The road is often a single lane, winding and dug into the sides of the mountains without any barrier to prevent vehicles from dropping up to 600m (2,000ft) into the valleys below.
As the region is so large, many coffee roasters describe coffees as being from a more specialist area, such as Caranavi, Inquisitive, or Coroico, within the region.
Altitude: 800-2,300m (2,600–7,600ft)
This is the most easterly of the departments in Bolivia, and generally, it lacks the altitude for high-quality coffees.
There is some coffee production around the Ichilo province, although coffee is far less important as a crop compared to rice or timber.
This region is hugely important to the country’s economy because most natural gas is here.
Altitude: 410m (1340ft)
This is an extensive and sparsely populated department in the country’s northeast.
Technically, part of Beni falls within the geographical region of Yungas, but a small amount of coffee is grown in the department outside the Yungas region.
Primarily this is a cattle ranching area, although many crops are grown here, from rice and cacao to tropical fruits.
Altitude: 155m (500ft)