Alasitas, Natural Java, Bolivia 2018
Flavour description: This is one of the most exclusive coffees produced at Alasitas. The natural process of the coffee gives a lot of sweetness to the juicy and floral varietal Java. The coffee has flavour notes of papaya, and violets, with a lasting finish reminding of pineapple with a sweetness of gumdrops.
Producer: Daniela, Pedro-Pablo and Pedro Rodriguez
Location: Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Harvest: Mid-August to September 2018
Elevation: 1580 masl
Processing: Natural. The coffee beans are dried in the coffee cherry before it is removed out of its skin.
The coffee cherries are dried on raised beds with consistent turning to about 42%. The coffee is then removed to automatic heaters where it is having a consistent temperature on 45 degrees until the coffee beans in the cherry reach 11.5% moist.
FOB price paid for this coffee: 12 USD per lbs
Roast: Light to medium to present the natural characteristics of the coffee. The Java roast profile is more steep to get the vibrant notes of the coffee out.
This is the first year we have the Java from just this Rodriguez’ farm, Alasitas. The Java is floral and delicate, but since the Java trees were planted at Alasitas five years ago, the taste profile has got stronger and more intense for every year. And now it is here! The producers have invested a lot of time, land and money into growing this coffee, even though the Java variety does not give a big yield, but they strive to present how diverse Bolivian coffee can be. And right in this coffee, it is truly paying off! We get a juicy yet floral cup out of this coffee and are very happy to be presenting this exclusive, micro-lot of Java to you!
This is a very important relationship for us at Drop, and one we are very proud to have. We go to their farms for a visit every year during harvest, and stay at the mill, they have also made their way up to Stockholm to visit the team at Drop. We, as friends have been growing together for over four years now.
If it weren’t for the Rodriguez, Bolivian coffee would look a lot different today. They work under the name Agricafé as exporters, and we are buying all of our Bolivian coffees through them. They also have a sustainability project ‘Sol de Manana’, where they are working with other producers, providing them with fertilizer and plants, and advising, with their agronomical expertise. They also process the coffees from all of the producers we are buying from at their washing stations and dry mill. On top of all of this, they have farms of their own, including Alasitas.
The dad, Pedro Roudriguez started sourcing coffee from small coffee producers in 1986. He ownes a mill, together with his talaented daughter Daniela and son Pedro Pablo. They process, dry mill and exports coffee for other farmers in the Caranavi and Sud Yungas region. Without people like the Roudriguez family working in coffee in Bolivia, the future of Bolivian coffee would be at risk of disappearing, but with the steady decline of coffee production, the sustainability of their export business is in jeopardy.
The farm Alasitas
In 2014, the Rodriguez family bought land in Caranavi region to showcase their practices and educate other producers on sustainable farming, as well as increasing the overall volume at their mills. They prepared the land on 20,6 hectares and planted Red Caturra, Java and Gesha. The name of the farm is Las Alasitas, which in the Aimara native language means “buy me”.
Caranavi is located 150 kilometers north of La Paz city, it is seen as the center of Bolivian specialty coffee production. With the super-rich soil, combined with very high altitudes, for me, it is the epicenter for coffee production in Bolivia. We’re very proud to present this Bolivian coffee to you all, for the impact it will have on the livelihood of the people working for the Rodriguez family as well as the future of Bolivian specialty coffee. But don’t forget the sugary, clear taste profile.
To showcase how good Bolivian coffee can taste, the Rodriguez family has planted different varietals such as this Java. The original plants are actually from the Mierisch family in Nicaragua, whom we bought Las Delicias from. (Yaaay! Coming back really soon!)
Java often gets called Longberry, as the beans are very long and the cherries are big. As indicated by the name, the variety was introduced to the island of Java directly from Ethiopia by the Dutch in the early 19th century.
It was originally thought to be a Typica selection. But genetic fingerprinting of molecular markers has revealed that Java is a selection from an Ethiopian landrace population called Abysinia.
It was introduced to Costa Rica in 1991 to provide more options for smallholders using low inputs, as well as tolerant to coffee berry disease (CBD). Subsequently Java’s quality potential at high altitudes has been recognized.
It represents an interesting alternative to the Gesha, which have a high cup quality but is more resilient for small farmers with better tolerance of coffee leaf rust and CBD. However the yield is quite small, which is one of the reasons the Java costs more to produce.
In the last four years, the Roudriguez family has been building a sustainability project with the producers delivering to their mills, called ‘Sol de Mañana. It is built on three mantras: economical sustainability, social understanding and environmental awareness. We are buying coffee from other producers in Bolivia, such as Carmelita, Colque and Tadassio Mamani who are receiving extra support from the Roudriguez family. They help other producers produce higher quality and larger quantities in a sustainable way.
For all of the coffee we are buying through the Roudriguez, 20% of the price we pay them goes directly to the farmers delivering the coffee. These numbers are completely transparent and available for all of the producers. Earlier this year, the family got the SCA Sustainability Award for Most Sustainable Buisness Model.
Bolivia is a complex, diverse and somewhat isolated country and getting great coffee out of the country is not super easy. But it is so worth it! Read more about Bolivia as a coffee-producing country here.