Bolivian coffee harvest runs from April (below 1,000 masl) to October (up to 2,000 masl). In 2006 the country exported 85,000 bags of green coffee. The coffee rust hit the region very hard after that and the production dropped to 20,000 in 2017. The increase of the coca production also led to a decrease of the coffee production. Indeed, as soon as the coca production became legal in some areas of Bolivia, many farmers switched coffee production to coca production which is more profitable (5 harvests a year with big profit).
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. 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. All the coffee has to travel this treacherous road to be processed and exported from La Paz.
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; all kinds of potatoes, pastas, quinoa, vegetables, toilet paper, dried llama meat. The majority of the population here is native, and vibrant colours and bowler hats complimented this beautiful market.
Agricafe is a business owned by the Rodriguez family and has been started in 1986. By then, the family used to rent wet mills in Caranavi region, buying cherries from 2,000 producers and in 2001 they built their actual wet mill, called Buena Vista, in Caranavi. They, very quickly, built a dry mill in la Paz and then started exporting operations. In 2013, a few years after the national drop of production, they decided to buy land and start farming as well. They now have 8 farms in Caranavi region (60 ha) and 5 farms in Samaipata region (60 ha). Up to 300 people are working for the company at the peak season. They hire agronomists from different countries as consultants every year.
Nueva Llusta is located in the Yungas jungle in Bolivia’s eastern mountains. Many smallholders work with Llusta washign station and bring their coffee there. Each of the producers owns between 2 and 4 ha.
Agrarian land reform started in 1953, families were given ownership to land and encouraged to move to rural areas to cultivate citrus and coffee.
Llusta is a family-run station located in the Caranavi region. Typica and Caturra are planted on 2.5 hectares under shade and intercropped with citrus and papaya trees, peppers and green beans. The total farm runs on 10 hectares. Other producers are bringing their coffee to the station. The coffee is processed at the farm before been taken to Agricafe dry mill in La Paz.
This lot has been manually fully washed with a fermentation time of 17.5h in tank and then dried on raise beds for two weeks.
In La Paz, after milling, cupping and after making sure the moisture content is around 11%, the coffee is bagged in Ecotact and jute bags before being exported through Arica port in Chile.